Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
Everything is Connected
A set of six nested stories spanning time between the 19th century and a distant post-apocalyptic future. Cloud Atlas explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Action, mystery and romance weave through the story as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in the distant future. Based on the award winning novel by David Mitchell. Directed by Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis.
"What is an ocean, but a multitude of drops?" - Adam Ewing
I think the only sensible way to review this film is by each of it's inter-twining stories. In chronological order, of course:
Time and setting: South Pacific Ocean, 1849
Genre: Sea-faring adventure/period drama
Protagonist: Adam Ewing (Jim Sturgess)
Well, I suppose a good place to start is the worst place to start, because things can only get better. Although the events of this section are meant to be small and cramped to show the gravity of the events that are to follow, this doesn't seem to gel with the rest of the story. The other stories have a bigger scope, while nothing much happens in this…
David Mitchell’s novel is one of the most impressive novels I have ever read. It is an exercise in style, an exploration of the nature of humanity and a narrative of hope, an appreciation of art and a glimmer of redemption for a self-destructive race. That is what I got out of it, but the book is so complex that multiple interpretations are possible and there is always the chance that people will not take anything from it at all. That’s the nature of any form of art. Where the film fails to be a successful adaption of the novel on that deeper level for me, it more than succeeds in distilling a common thread from it, structuring the complex…
It speaks volumes of a filmmaker when they can fluently negotiate, perhaps perfect, multitudinous genres during their careers. What speaks even louder and distinctive volumes is that adept versatility showcased in and confined to a singular film, which navigates genres in such a fluid manner that the coalition of possibly conflicting styles is in fact flawless. Cloud Atlas is one such phenomenal film for the Wachowski's and Tom Tykwer, and what they orchestrate beneath the 172 minute smokescreen is unparalleled, exceedingly audacious and possibly, in due time whilst the film ferments, a revered classic in cinema.
Historic and futuristic; comedic and mightily dramatic; thrilling and introspective, Cloud Atlas traverses an abundance of eras, harnessing the theory that each choice we…
Having read the book only after seeing the trailer a few months ago, I was never in the camp that thought the book should/could never be turned into a film. I read the book with an almost insurmountable amount of hype behind it, but it met those expectations handily. The film has been hyped even more than the book, with good reason! The book is epic and dramatic, spanning vast amounts of time and space. Even though it has one of the most interesting and impressive narrative structures of all time, the narrative is secondary in importance to the themes holding the disparate characters and circumstances together. How do you turn such a book into a movie without failing miserably?…
(Forward: I've been planning this review for a very long time now. I was very excited when the film came in the mail today.)
If a film is good, I'll usually think about it for a day or two before moving on. If it's great, I'l think about it for weeks. But to think about a film almost every day for nearly six months after I've first seen it? That takes a miracle.
And Cloud Atlas is that miracle.
Now, since I believe that the Academy should be subject to criminal abuse for disregarding Cloud Atlas, I shall now list every Oscar category that the film was eligible for and give reasons why it should have been a frontrunner at…
The Wachowski siblings have always been ambitious filmmakers even if they have overreached themselves on more than a few occasions. Cloud Atlas is undoubtedly their most ambitious project to date both thematically and logistically. Three directors, six interweaving stories and a big budget independent production dealing with existential questions: At worst it is career suicide, at best filmmakers’ folly.
Although David Mitchell’s original novel deals with the concept of storytelling it never seemed a natural fit for the silver screen. It is simply too dense and sprawling to be considered commercially viable. Therefore it took filmmakers with the vision and financial clout to bring this adaptation into the world. For all its faults, and it does have many, it is…
How was this movie missed. Freeking amazing!
I cannot compare to the book by the lesser of the David Mitchells, because I have not read it or any of his work. (But still prefer the real DM).
However a sprawling and too lengthy futuristic and philosophical piece of work that gets it right more often than it gets it wrong.
Too long by an hour but it's hard to know what to cut and not make the point about the canvas of time and fate.
The 'future speak' was irritating and required work to keep up with but I assume this is the lexicon of the source material.
The modern day 'blackface' grated as if fake epicanthic folds are better now than in Mickey Rooney's day.
Still a compelling narrative and a cleverly woven tale with plenty to see and appreciate in the details.
Looks amazing. Didn't have a clue what it all meant though. I'm sure there's a deep meaning that will reveal itself upon subsequent rewatches but I don't feel motivated to sit through it for another three hours. Deja-vu never felt so demanding.
Liked the way the stories get connected to each other but there's a lack of depth in most of them.
Above all, an interesting exercise in film making.
"Do you ever get the feeling that the Universe is against you?"
I am confused right now. Extremely confused.
Cloud Atlas is a 3-hour-movie. I basically spent my whole evening watching it. And I don't feel like I've watched it. It never seemed long, while it never seemed short either. It just… exists.
I never laughed, I never smiled, I never cried… I never cared. The fact that there were so many stories confused me more than anything else, and made me loose interest.
It saddens me that I couldn't relate to the movie because it wasn't bad, far from it. The acting was impeccable, the settings were wonderful, great soundtrack too. And…
Take one of the most ostentatiously unadaptable novels of recent times, cast a bunch of actors of limited range and make them play multiple roles, and put a brace of sci-fi/action directors at the helm... madness. Yet I found myself totally absorbed and loving it. It's possible that on repeat viewings the awkwardnesses (the make-up, Hanks's Irish accent, etc) would end up killing the emotional engagement; but for this time out, a strange triumph.
Whilst it has good entertinament value, Cloud Atlas ends up being a beautfiully shot, but wildly convoluted mess.
Having read the book, I had the tiniest of notions about what was going on, but the muddled timelines made this harder to follow than a polar bear in a snow storm.
Sticking to the book's way of story telling, with one time period given time to flourish before handing it off to the next, would arguably have made this a much better movie.
Tutti-Frutti Sextet in Spacetime Major
very long, but thought provoking and poignant.
- Only God Forgives
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- Spring Breakers
- A Field in England
- Eyes Wide Shut
- Speed Racer
- Marie Antoinette
- Spring Breakers
Peeping Tom, Night of the Hunter and a whole host of older films were ignored or given bad reviews upon…
- The Red Shoes
- Synecdoche, New York
- Time of the Gypsies
- Speed Racer
- La Jetée
Apologies for the rather clumsy and drab title, I was going to call it Pure Cinema but that isn't quite…