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This Week's Review: "Atonement"

Before writing this review I sat down and tried to remember any instances when, as a child, I made a poor decision that resulted in pain for someone else. I came up with three in less than a minute which means I undoubtedly had many more. Incident #1: While vacationing with my family in Maine, I purposely threw a Styrofoam cup out the back window of our moving car. I knew littering was wrong but my curiosity about how the wind might launch the cup high into the air outweighed my better judgment. As I turned to watch the cup whip across the pavement, I immediately noticed the police cruiser tailing behind us. My father, unaware of what had happened, dutifully pulled over and stopped once he heard the sirens. The officer went into great detail about the evils of littering and how, being from Vermont, we should know better. My father, embarrassed at being lectured in front of his family, turned to me, and with finger pointed in great disdain stated, How many times have we talked about the importance of keeping the environment clean? Instead of keeping my mouth shut, which would have likely resulted in a small punishment from my father and a warning from the officer, I decided to make an ill-thought statement: Dad, you throw garbage out the window all the time! The officer apparently didnt appreciate my fathers false standing as an environmentalist or my adolescent honesty. I spent the rest of that summer working off the costly fine he incurred. Incident #2: While swimming at the local municipal pool on a sunny summer afternoon, I cannonballed an unsuspecting swimmer. While the act was done in retaliation to his earlier attack, it was not intended to cause bodily harm. Unfortunately it did. The lifeguard jumped in and pulled the crying boy out of the water, administering a bevy of aid-related tests to determine the extent of his injuries. To add to the embarrassment, most of the pool patrons were gathered around in curiosity. When the boys parents arrived, I was forced to publicly apologize to them. Fortunately, there were no permanent injuries other than the one to my ego. Later in life that boys father would be my Little League coach (no wonder my playing time was limited that year). Incident #3: Everyone loves a good laugh, which was all I was trying to attain when I shoved one of my good friends head into a bucket of water while he was bobbing for apples during a Halloween party. Unfortunately, the bucket was somewhat shallow and the force of my hand on the back of his head resulted in a severely broken nose. Not surprisingly, having to rush someone to the hospital in the middle of a party is a great way to deflate the jovial atmosphere. In each of the aforementioned incidents, a decision by me resulted in temporary hardships for other people. But imagine doing something so damaging that it cost another party a lifetime of unhappiness. Such is the case with this weeks feature, Atonement. Set in Britain in the 1930s, Atonement follows the love story of a couple who are separated because of a foolish decision made by a young child. And while the love affair is the main crux of the story, the anguish that the child suffers because of her actions is what truly propels the mood of the film. I must admit that I was somewhat dismayed as this film began to unfold. Having no knowledge of the storyline, I was genuinely unimpressed with what looked to be a standard love story. However, my feelings rebounded dramatically as Atonement began to take on epic proportions. This picture offers truly memorable performances, a very involved and complex storyline, and a resolution that is far from predictable. Check this one out if you love English period films and enjoy being challenged by the movies you watch. A consuming A- for Atonement. Cant decide what to watch? Check out Doms Video Pick Of The Week

Lamerica

Here's a foreign language film that absolutely blew me away. Lamerica revolves around a young man from Italy who heads across the Adriatic Sea to initiate a business venture in the newly formed democracy of Albania. He needs a stooge to make his business legit and thinks he finds one in the form of an ex-prisoner of war who suffers from dementia. This film sneaks up on you with its allure. Once Lamerica ends you realize how engaged you were with its subject matter. Fans of foreign films will not want to miss this one. If you normally pass on subtitled selections, this may be the one to finally give in to. It is an amazing motion picture with a lot of heart.

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