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…
I was in a much too sober state of mind to have any chance of enjoying this film. Halle Boring and I AM TOM HANKS were cringe-inducing. Old people hijinks and the go for broke emotionality of Doo-Na/Sturgess plots kept me from passing out but aishe... Actually my favorite scene was at the end where they showed which actor played what parts/races through the power of make-up. Find that scene on Youtube and skip this diabolical monstrosity.
I'm embarrassed that my past self was actually excited to watch this.
Hard to undestand at the beginning, but full of wise messages.
And the actors and actresses are mind-blowing.
I can't tell if this is a work of genius or just a jumbled mess. Two things are for sure though, the movie looks amazing and the music is stunning.
I'm not really certain why this film got such awful reviews. Perhaps it was a reaction to the future timeline with Halle Berry and Tom Hanks, which was, to be fair, absolutely dreadful. But the rest of the film, if at times a bit sentimental, was very well executed. I didn't learn anything new, my worldview wasn't changed, but it was interesting, and it was fun. Certainly not worth the hatred I saw spewed at it from magazines and blogs when it first hit theaters.
I’m just about to watch Cloud Atlas. I’m not a fan of science fiction films normally so will see how it goes. Also, as it’s three hours long I will comment after I’ve watched the entire film (this may take a few days).
Ok, so I was totally right. I managed to watched half of the film in the first sitting. It confused me with all the swapping and changing between. The different time zones although I did enjoy trying to work out which character was which and who they were related to/how they were relevant to the film.
The futuristic time zone (so many years after the fall) was by far the worst section to me as the language…
Although at times messy and cheesy, the film in the end is nevertheless epic yet intimate, with a sense of cosmic ambition all too rare in 100M sci-fis. Good performance all around, with special shout out to Bae and Hanks.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
'Cloud Atlas' is not a two and a half hour film about clouds (something I'm sure Terrence Malick is currently prepping with a pretentious voiceover by Michael Fish). It is the latest example of an adaptation of an unfilmable novel. Hollywood must be applauded for continuing to have the balls to tackle unfilmable novels and ticking them off one by one, sometimes proving that they are indeed "filmable" or at least having a go and turning in a "noble failure".
The problem with attempting to film "difficult" works of literature is that, like politics, you can't please all of the people all of the time. Filmmakers risk alienating a proportion of their intended audience via the narrative decisions they make…
- 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…