(Kiera Knightly & James McAvoy)
This movie sucks; it is a jumbled piece of atrocious storytelling gone awry & anyone who thinks this film or its actor deserve any kind of Oscar attention is bloody nuts!I love Kiera Knightly’s face; it is gorgeous (She’s a little too skinny to my liking, but that countenance of hers is breathtakingly beautiful) & she’s impressed me in the past with her acting abilities – but here – she is, to put it bluntly, awful. The lame lines of dialogue don’t help matters, but she reads lines like “Darling, I love you... I’ll write you... Please come back to me” as if she’s reading from a grocery list – “Darling, we need milk... A loaf of bread... Perhaps some Cheerios.”
The story is fairly simple in the beginning – with just one major problem – they give you no background on these people at all – you’re just supposed to ‘know’ that even though Robby (McAvoy) has just given Cecilia (Kiera) a note calling her a... (the ‘c’ word) – they are madly in love with one another. There is absolutely NO character development, so you don’t care about these people at all.Saoirse (pronounced the same as it’s written) Ronan plays young Briony – Cecilia’s much younger sister. Briony has a crush on Robby so when she sees them screwing in the library she (along with us) suddenly discovers that the two are apparently in love (Or just drunk & horny – who knows?)Heartbroken, Briony then makes up a lie that gets Robby sent to prison, leading to Kiera’s first grocery list reading. Robby ends of fighting in the war & both Cecilia & Briony become nurses. Nurse Briony is played by Romola Garai & just to make sure we, the idiots in the audience, can understand that this IS the same Briony that falsely accused Robby of a crime he did not commit, director Joe Wright aids us by giving Romola the exact same haircut as Saoirse.
Somehow I think we’d figure it out the first time someone called her ‘Briony’, but hey, thanks, Joe!From here the movie just drags on & on, including one elongated scene where Robby & two of his buddies wander across a beach after a battle for a good 15-20 minutes where nothing that happens is explained, nor are we told what battle just took place & why some guys are shooting horses in the head & others are singing in the gazebo...Then for the big finale & surprise ending, Vanessa Redgrave is brought in as ‘senile’ Briony & just to make double certain that we understand that this isn’t just some elderly woman who also happens to be named Briony – it IS the same Briony we have come to not give a damn about – Joe sends Vanessa to the same hairdresser as Romola & Saoirse.Maybe its the ‘chick flick’ factor, but don’t blame me if you go to see this ‘Oscar contender’ & walk out scratching your head & wondering how you’ll get that 2 hours & 15 minutes of your life back!