Friday, December 14, 2007

The skinny on Keira Knightley

By my loose, nobody-knows-anything estimation, Atonement is your likely Best Picture winner at the next Academy Awards, alongside nominees American Gangster, The Kite Runner, No Country for Old Men, and There Will Be Blood. But would I pay to see it? Fortunately, I didn't have to, as I caught a screening Thursday evening.

Good thing, because I feel like a paid ticket is somehow supporting Keira Knightley to keep her scary, alien-like frame. Look at her shoulders in this picture! They are pointy, not willowy. (Memo to the studios: drop the Kool-Aid already, and quit convincing us that this is how women are supposed to look. Hetero men aren't stupid -- well, no, we are -- but we're pretty sure that our gaze was not intended for human hangers wearing stylish clothes.)

So, the movie: it has the makings of a major award winner -- meaty title, themes of war and romance, long passage of time -- but I felt a little cold by all of it. For whatever reason, it plays around with its timeline; usually, I feel a movie is better told simply and linearly, but in this case, the skipping around kept me interested.

For a few fleeting moments, leads Knightley and James McAvoy have a lively chemistry, and might have made more of it in a less heavy-handed movie. The direction, sticking to this overall solemn tone, comes across as appropriately theatrical. Watching the film with a mind toward awards, you see all bases properly covered: music, costumes, makeup, cinematography, etc. I was especially fond of the use of a typewriter (the film's symbolic weapon) as a percussive instrument.

Haven't read the book, but I want to believe that there was more reason to care about what happened. What we're given instead is -- my apologies, Keira -- a very barebones approach.


ZenDenizen said...

You couldn't pay me to see this.

Any word on Sweeney Todd yet?

Neel Mehta said...

Provided I get in, I'll see Sweeney Todd Tuesday.

Mainline Mom said...

Mike is always saying that about the freakishly skinny women Hollywood says are hot. He doesan't even like Victoria's Secret mags or the TV thing for the same reason, although those girls are slightly curvier.

Neel Mehta said...

Well played, Mike.

(I'm kidding. Glad I'm not the only one.)

Kamikaze Camel said...

aaagh, she's skinny! She's what they call an ectomorph.

When women are like that they're anorexic or bulemic or whatever, if a guy is like that (like me!) we're scrawny.

It's just natural. There are times when you can tell someone is naturally thin and Keira is one of those times.

Neel Mehta said...

If you say so. Keira was naturally thin (and more fit) during her younger, Bend It Like Beckham days. But at some point during the Pirates trilogy, she shrank herself down to nothing.

But yes, among overly skinny people, she's an anomaly. My sister pointed out Keira's surprisingly full-looking face in the Chanel commercial. Part of it is makeup artistry, but part of it is genetics.