“Atonement” is a powerful study of British class prejudice and distinction that see the ruination of Robbie and Cecelia. Briony’s fertile writer’s imagination appears like a mere excuse in fuelling a series of terrible events. It is her envy and anger over unrequited love that push her into committing a dreadful injustice.
However, there are some unanswered questions, and one would be, why could Robbie not clear himself of a crime he had not committed but was accused of when he had an excellent alibi.
However, the movie is well mounted and is so engaging that most of us would miss these finer points.
Equally dark was Ang Lee’s latest work, “Lust, Caution” set in 1942 Shanghai and Hong Kong that narrates the tale of a group of Chinese students resisting Japanese occupation. One of them is beautiful Wang Chia-Chih (played by Tang Wei), who is assigned to sexually trap a corrupt Chinese politician, Yee, (Tony Leung).
The tables are turned midway, when Wang finds herself in love with the politician, and the race to a dramatic climax begins.
Extremely intimate, “Lust, Caution” has some extraordinarily bold sex scenes, though wonderfully choreographed and aesthetically shot.
This film is not as appealing as Lee’s earlier “Brokeback Mountain”, though the helmer’s fans would not be too dissatisfied, for he captures the essence of resistance and espionage with panache.
(Webposted August 30 2007)