An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.
Cinema, or ‘the movies’ as it’s most often called, offers us various ways of entertainment. Some entertain, others force us to think, another makes us sad and the next one laugh.
Not often do we get to see a movie that offers all of this and manages to still be of a high standard.
Cloud Atlas is one of those movies that most will either worship or hate. It’s definitely not an easy story to follow, and even for those hardened veterans out there who watch movies on a daily basis ‘Cloud Atlas’ will still have you scratching your head on numerous occasions.
Based on the book by David Mitchell, Tom Tykwer (Perfume) and the Wachowski Brothers (The Matrix Trilogy), tell us the story of roughly 6 different time periods. Starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent and Ben Wishaw the cast isn’t exactly short supplied on acting talent. And they all have numerous parts, in fact, they have at the very least 4 and some even 7 different roles.
On top of that comes a hefty 170+ minute running time, scenes that cross over in different era’s of time, and a general theme that requires your mind to process, hard.
So to call ‘Cloud Atlas’ a gamble is saying it mildly.
The Wachowski’s dont really have a clean track record with movies such as ‘Speed Racer’ or the two ‘Matrix’ sequels coming up short on either critical acclaim or box office revenue or both.
But how the trio of directors did it, I don’t know, what I do know is that ‘Cloud Atlas’ is a mesmerizing journey through all the things that fuel my passion for the medium.
Once more, this is a movie best enjoyed with as little amount of info on the proceedings. What can be mentioned is my thoughts on its theme (since that’s open for debate as you’ll find soon after seeing it).
What connects all the stories together for me, are a bunch of different topics. Love, Despair, Hatred, all are touched upon over time and all connect to create a whole again.
How you feel about the numerous time jumps and the shift of pacing and story, it can’t be denied that the epic feel of the movie and the skill involved are all extraordinary.
The most common heard complaint is that it tries to hard to be an intellectual movie, and I get that criticism. With so much going on and almost every story being multi-layered as well, it’s easy to call that a flaw. However, a common persons reaction to not following a story is commenting that it’s bad or that it tries too hard. If you just sit down, pay attention and enjoy what’s on show, I doubt you’ll feel the same way as them. Not everything can be explained in one sitting, and not every story is as memorable as the one preceding (or rather crossing through) it, but all add to the general sense that you are part of an experience that’s quite unique.
Tom Hanks shines in all his parts, and even Halle Berry largely redeems herself from some of her poorly chosen roles. Hugh Grant had me shaking, mostly because he’s grown old so much so that some people had to check if it was really him. Ben Wishaw (the new Q in Skyfall) is a great actor to witness as well, and that’s just naming three now.
It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but as a fan of the movies (which is why you’re still reading this right?) you owe it to yourself to at least see it once.
If you have seen it or are planning to: feel free to comment below with your thoughts on one of the most thought provoking and experimental movies of 2012.