Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Atonement: book vs movie
I loved the book by the British Ian Mcewan who is one of the contemporary fiction writers that I enjoy reading. The movie is quite remarkable (some of the war scenes in the film are unbelievable!). But here is my problem: What Mcewan is trying to do in the book is to demonstrate how we as individuals or communities (in the case of the book, a family) create our separate narratives that in many cases do not correspond to reality, and that we end up embracing them to a point where the narrative becomes our reality. But sooner or later the truth comes out in all its ugliness. Now..this transition from narrative to reality works in the book, but not in the movie (which explains why so many viewers say they were "confused" by the ending of the movie). I think that the main reason is that to use the cliche, seeing is believing. And when you watch something happening on the screen, it's difficult to consider the possibility that all of that didn't happen (which explains why images including films are more effective in terms of manipulation than the written word. In short, my advice is to read the book before seeing the movie.