Sweeping romantic drama has nothing to apologize for
Atonement presents viewers with the kind of sweeping romance and epic storytelling that hasn’t been seen since the likes of Reds or Doctor Zhivago or Gone with the Wind. (Yes, I consciously left The English Patient off that list--it’s highly overrated.) Admittedly, that’s a mighty bold statement to make. It’s not merely a reflection on the film’s quality, which is impeccable, but a description of the classic cinematic style for which Atonement is reaching. So many modern Hollywood love stories are obsessed with the petty and the miniscule (mistaken identities, ridiculous lies and other formulaic contrivances). When lunkheaded dirty jokes like The Heartbreak Kid pass for romance, we’re in serious need of some old-fashioned affairs of the heart.
Put Your Hands Where We Can See Them
The door's open but the ride it ain't free
And I know you're lonely
For words I ain't spoken
But tonight we’ll be free
All the promises'll be broken
–“Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen
I have always yearned to be a judge, a news anchor or a high school girls' volleyball coach. Why? Because these are careers that do not require pants. Judges have robes, anchors have desks and the coaches get probation. Thankfully, pants are essential to American politics. And it isn't just because without them the only thing between you and molten retinas is the lectern on C-SPAN.
The slacks don't make the slacker—the pockets do. No pants, no pockets. No pockets, no ... Hey! Get your hand out of there.