I've now (finally!) seen all five of this past year's Best Picture nominees (No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Juno, Atonement, and Michael Clayton). Without a doubt No Country, and Blood were the best two pictures. Personally I'd go for Blood, as it had a power I haven't seen from movie since American Beauty. No Country was exciting in it's own right, and I appreciated the depth of thought and philosophy behind the film. Either film could have rightfully won the award.
Juno was a sweet little picture, a terrific glimpse of real life. Michael Clayton was a compelling drama, but enough similar movies have been done (albeit it in other styles (legal thrillers, mystery)) that it lost some of its impact.
I want to talk about Atonement. [Spoilers ahead] Because what the &%$@ was that?!? There was no atoning. There was no pay-off. The stupid frickin' chick never made up for what she did. She didn't even begin to make up for it. Even in the version of the story she told she didn't really make up for it. It was a gigantic crock.
I can see how the idea could make for a terrific book, and apparently the novel was terrific. I can see that as an exploration of the nature of fiction it would be a powerful and insightful experience. But the movie wasn't about the nature of fiction, it was about the characters and the plot. And the plot didn't have any &$#%ing atonement! It didn't leave me satisfied. It left me angry. I haven't been this upset at the lack of pay off since I saw Meet the Parents. Yeah, that's right; the best comparison I have for Atonement is to Meet the Parents.
I guess I'll never grow a sideburn
It's a shame with all I've got to go between