Here are two trailers for Joe Wright‘s Atonement (Focus Features, 12.7), an adaptation of an Ian McEwan period drama which will play at both the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals in early September. The film doesn’t appear to be monumental art, but it’s almost shocking how differently these two trailers sell the film.
This cooler trailer makes it appear serious, adult, thoughtful, grounded; the other trailer makes it seem tawdry, vaguely cheap and almost soap opera-like. The differences are really amazing — the cooler version is posted above but watch the other one and compare.
The film, working from a screenplay by Christopher Hampton, seems to borrow a tiny bit from Lillian Helman‘s The Children’s Hour. Set in 1935 and moving into the World War II years and beyond, it’s about a 13 year-old girl who ruins at least a couple of lives when she accuses the lover (James McAvoy) of her older sister (Keira Knightley) of a crime he hasn’t committed. Shock from the observing of sexual intimacy seems to be part of her motive. Costars include Romola Garai, Saoirse Ronan, Brenda Blethyn and Vanessa Redgrave.