Atonement (DVD)

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The Independent Culture

Universal Joe Wright's lavish, Oscar-nominated adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel stars James McAvoy and Keira Knightley – as if you didn't know – as two lovers who are separated by the meddling of a younger sister (the Oscar-nominated Saoirse Ronan) and by the onset of the Second World War. The film has all the love, death, and class division that any award-voter could ask for, as well as images that are already iconic. What it lacks is emotion. In the book it's a wrench when the lovers are parted, and yet on screen the actors keep their upper lips as stiff as their starched collars.