Films of books

I’ve been to see two films in the space of two weeks which is a rare event for me! The first was Atonement based on the Ian McKewan novel; and the second was When Did You Last See Your Father? based on the autobiographical book by Blake Morrison. As cinema Atonement was more satisfying, with many visually stunning shots, like the scene of soldiers singing a hymn on the beach at Dunkirk. When Did You… was more disappointing as a visual event. It contained lots of views of northern England landscape but noting out of the ordinary I felt. The sequence on the beach though with young Blake being given a chance to learn to drive his father’s sports car nicely captured the tension between joy and menace that charcterised the father-son relationship. Both these books made huge impressions on me, in different ways, when I read them some years ago. Atonement was a pleasure to read for its language alone and also its vividly subtle depiction of the horrors of war through the eyes of a desperate victim of injustice. When Did you…as a book deeply impressed me with its unblinking focus on the visceral indignities of bodily decline and the challenge the death of a parent presents.

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