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?…
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…
(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…
Watching Cloud Atlas was like watching 5 or 6 movies rolled into one. More than once, I felt like I was viewing multiple episodes of a high-budget TV show rather than a movie. Was the movie enjoyable? Absolutely. Was it good? Maybe. Was it a little confusing? Definitely.
I had a lot of questions unrelated to the movie's muddled plot, mainly, what's up with this amount of weird yellow face and whiteface? Why were there bit characters played by the same actors for only short, meaningless scenes? Why was Tom Hank's British accent so bad?
All in all, I enjoyed Cloud Atlas a lot, but ultimately, the whole wasn't greater than the sum of its many, many parts.
The Wachowski's Cloud Atlas is incredibly ambitious in it's span and scope. A work of true beauty and brilliance.
Overly ambitious attempt to film an unfilmable book (by David Mitchell) with no discernible thematic through-line. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent, Doona Bae, Hugh Grant and Hugo Weaving play different characters in different time periods. The film constantly crosses between time periods. The best scenes have Jim Broadbent leading an escape from a nursing home and Tom Hanks as an East End gangster. The film really is that bonkers. Amazing that one director wanted to make it, let alone three (Andy and Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer)
An ambitious blending of many genres to tell a vast and epic story of existential scale. Extremely well executed with minor imperfections.
Impressively, brilliantly plotted. Occasionally hysterical, and always fun, to see the actors with ridiculous costumes/makeup/accents. I loved it. It’s constantly fascinating and riveting. The only negative is probably the future-speak. Language has fallen apart and takes on weird abbreviations and such. Like, in place of the word “truth”, future people say “true-true”. The concept is good, but actually hearing it, it all sounds pretty stupe-stupe.
"Once you free your mind about the concept of harmony and of music being correct, you can do whatever you want." - Giorgio Moroder
...and that's the true-true of it all. When I first saw this in the cinema, fresh off of reading the novel, I was sceptical to say the least. Ditching the elegant unfolding narrative structure? Getting each actor to play multiple roles in each of the different storylines? It sounded like the Wachowskis and Tykwer were getting themselves in a bit of a muddle, and this preconception obviously affected my opinion of the movie.
But now that I'm older and wiser, and - crucially - less in thrall to notions of 'correctness' in cinema, I feel like…
So ambitious and pretty incredible.
It's confusing and pretentious, lacks of focus, 2 hours and a half for basically nothing.
I don't get the emotional impact this thing had on everyone.
Even though it wasn't very successful, Cloud Atlas is my favorite movie. Every single acting performance is brilliant, the soundtrack gives me goosebumps, there is a good balance between dialogue and action and the story is just perfect. I've seen this movie at least seven times and I still feel like I could watch it again.
It has to be said though that it is different from the book.
Peeping Tom, Night of the Hunter and a whole host of older films were ignored or given bad reviews upon…
Apologies for the rather clumsy and drab title, I was going to call it Pure Cinema but that isn't quite…