Wednesday, 16 June 2010

June Weddings: Atonement

Cinematic weddings often fall into two groups – the stiflingly exaggerated or the slight and miserly. The only wedding in Atonement is a slight one, in nature not in implication. It is less important for the actual event and more important for a memory it precipitates. Paul Marshall, the chocolate giant, and Lola are getting married and teenaged Briony shows up for reason I’m never too certain of – perhaps she’s shocked about it happening and turns up to ascertain “evidence”.
I know I keep on harping on about how much I love Romola here, but she really is my favourite Briony – by a long shot; even though (or maybe because) she has so much difficulty to trudge through. Two asides strike me about the wedding almost immediately. For a character with so much money the chocolate giant’s wedding is sparsely attended. Does he have so few friends? I completely get that in the fabric of Atonement it’s not a happy wedding but good grief this ceremony looks bleak. 
 Look at poor Briony’s face. On that note, what is Briony wearing? I suppose it is some variation on nurses’ uniforms in the day but it looks like a cross between a misguided superhero costume and a freaky looking angel…but I should be the last person criticising clothes…
And what is up with the look of the “happy” couple. Lola just emanates bitch (no offense Juno).
Somewhere in between this Romola Briony remembers Saoirse Briony and her discovery of the Lola and Paul, butt no captures of this…I don’t want to kill the already dire mood.
Look at this shot carefully, something will come up soon…but while we’re there….why is Lola so pissed at Briony? She didn’t rape have sex with seduce do anything to her. Did she? 
 I love that look on Romola’s face though. So poignant….
And there…the final shot. Where have all the people disappeared to so quickly?
This has to be the weirdest screen wedding…but that final shot is still gorgeous


Luke said...

Wow (prepare yourself) I sort of tend to forget about the Romola portion of Atonement, but this scene certainly was an intriguing one. I'm going to revisit it soon. Does anyone else think that Juno Temple (especially in this and in Notes on a Scandal) kind of looks like a human cartoon? I don't know...

Ryan T. said...

I saw the somber mood, sparse audience, and finally empty church in the end more as another play in flashbacks/memories that the film employs throughout.

I love this film. More than I should. Oh man.

Nigel Maruva Chikukwa said...

What I love about this scene, is how polar it is..

Here you have this "political/economical" wedding occurring, and then in walks in a maiden driven by "moral" indignation.

That look you referenced is an example...The pair walks away leaving trails of their glut and at the same time Romola puts on a morally-driven expression in response. Acting is Reacting right?

Rachel said...

1. I just assumed the wedding attendance was sparse due to the war.

2. Though Briony blamed Robbie for Lola's rape, Lola knows the truth and seeing Briony reminds her that Briony was there that night and could remember what she really saw and expose the truth about Paul, which would be more devastating to Lola now that they're married. So looks angrily at Briony as a warning perhaps. Just my take.