Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rewind #21

Beach House: Devotion (2008)

Dreamy devotion to the softness of the universe. Xtimu once told me that the essence of the universe is compassion. We were lost on the northern coast of California and the ocean gods were crashing the shore and the mountain gods were swallowing the sea and the river gods were speaking to us in a torrent of frogs. But standing there in that wind, with my arms around her, holding onto her warmth, it wasn't very difficult to perceive the heart of the ages. Everyday is a witness to a great order and Beach House is the soundtrack. Victoria Legrand's voice lingers like the touch of an angel. Lounging on a Sunday afternoon, Along with Alex Scally, Beach House is the center of the universe. For our entire lives, we've heard stories of paradise, free from the burden of our lives. I don't know if that place exists beyond the few special times that I've been blessed enough to cherish this very life that I'm living, but I can hear it in these songs. With a tiny bit of magic, Beach House has found a way to show us eden.

Atonement: Joe Wright (2007)

From a stupid mistake, twisted around the jealous heart of a juvenile comes a tale that aches with tragedy. I didn't want to like this movie. I'm not a big fan of the writer and I don't especially enjoy watching Keira Knightley pout up on the screen, but there was a soaring song that this film captured with its exceptional vision. With a crisp tone and a beautiful look, we follow the story through the eyes of a young girl as her sister discovers and loses love all in a confusing afternoon. Thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis, embodied by Saoirse Ronan in an incredible performance, condemns Robbie Turner for a crime that he didn't commit. Exiled to the vast landscape of France during WWII, we find Robbie desperately trying to get home to his love, Cecilia Tallis, but alas, all because of Briony's mistake, they were never destined to remain together. Briony must spend the rest of her life atoning for this crime and thus we have the title of our film. It really was a gorgeous movie and watching the actors fly and swoon and cry and die upon the screen was so wonderful. Everyone carried the hearts of their characters (Keira not so much) and opened them for us to see. I didn't want to give them my full attention but by the end of the film, I was completely enthralled. Every time I thought that I was about ready to get bored with the way that they were telling the story, it shifted in a totally unexpected direction and though Briony could never atone for what she did, her tale did provide for a great movie.

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