Movies that are slightly off.
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…
Six intertwined stories, bridged together by a comet shaped birthmark and the epitome of spiritual uplift known as The Cloud Atlas Sextet. Imagine the weight and difficulty of the task to compose something described as the embodiment of Scriabin's echoes, Stravinsky's footprints, Debussy's chromatics, and, let us not forget, a waking dream. Only a madman would attempt such madness, but all geniuses were often considered mad at some point in their lives, and the world is only this wonderful thanks to the contributions of these mad people with their crazy ideas like frying potato slices to a crisp, adapting unadaptable novels or composing uncomposable music. As I listen to the soundtrack on repeat while I type away on my keyboard,…
Incredible. I am a sucker for (well-made) convoluted storylines in movies, books and videogames, the more complicated the better. I love thinking about or discussing open plot threads, symbolism, connections, hidden messages and so on. Safe to say, Cloud Atlas provided all of these things for me and more, to the point that I was upset I was sitting watching it alone - I simply had to discuss it with someone! I settled for thinking it over myself for hours and the more I did, the more I realised that I had just watched what may be my new favourite movie!
The most common word I have seen associated with this film is "ambitious", and I could not agree more.…
αχ την αγαπώ αυτην την ταινία
I hated the first twenty minutes, but it eventually won me (mostly) over through sheer momentum. It's a minefield of missteps and still better than it has any right to be. Also, the main theme is really good; really plucked up the emotional heft of the ending.
“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb we are bound to others, past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”
Written and directed by The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer, the story was adapted from the novel of the same name by David Mitchell. This is a true game-changer. I’ve never seen any film reach a scale this huge, what can I say…Cloud Atlas is on a whole new level.
This movie makes Mulholland Dr. look completely comprehensable by comparison. As far as I could tell the theme of the film is reincarnation, and I'm assuming that the five (I think) stories told therein are supposed to tie together to that purpose. I was only really able to connect a couple of them, and although there were some entertaining scenes and some impressive visuals it was mostly three hours of "WTF am I watching?". I'm guessing that after a decent opening day and those who venture out to see it tell their family and friends about it this movie will make about five dollars. With any luck the DVD will allow you to watch the individual stories by themselves where they'll be far more entertaining.
If you plan on checking this one out all I can say is good luck.
"Cloud Atlas" ist ein schrecklich kalkulierter Reißer von der Stange, mit einer platten Nachhaltigkeitsbotschaft, die auf einfältige 3 Stunden ausgedehnt wird. Kaum fängt man an, sich an eine Szene zu gewöhnen und sich für eine Figur zu interessieren, kommt der nächste planlose Schnitt zurück in die Vergangenheit oder vorwärts in die Zukunft. Zwar gelingt es den Wachowskis und Tykwer dabei nicht ansatzweise eine einheitliche Sprache zu finden und inszenatorisch eine Brücke zwischen den verschiedenen Zeitebenen zu schlagen, das haben sie aber auch gar nicht nötig. Die Masse lässt sich schließlich mit einfallslosen Weisheiten und Dialogen und mit der pompösen Ausstattung, allen voran gaaaanz viel Maske und Silikon, ködern. Eine geschlossene Bildsprache, inszenatorischen Fluss und Subtilität sucht man jedoch vergebens. Außer einer simplen Message, unnötig aufgeblasener Oberflächlichkeit und der arroganten Regiearbeit bleibt am Ende nicht viel, über das sich diskutieren lässt. Nie machte ein Epos einen unnötigeren Eindruck. Was wir daraus lernen dürfen: Alles ist mit allem verbunden. Wow !!
How do you even begin to describe Cloud Atlas? It's a romance. A science fiction film. An action movie. A comedy. It's a movie where each actor plays six different roles. Where there are six different stories helmed by three different directors. Its constant juggling of storylines, timelines, and tones means that it shouldn't, by any means, work. But it does and it does with flying colors.
I think a big reason why Cloud Atlas works as well as it does is due to the editing. While most movies that employ cross cutting narratives typically cut at the height of the beat before moving on the to next story, Cloud Atlas does something a little different. Instead of using edits…
Very ambitious, tonally inconsistent mess of a movie that failed at times to deliver true emotions, true depth and true impact. Visually impressive at other times.
The future sequences were especially bad and could not be taken seriously.
Our list of the 50 best sci-fi of the 21st century so far.
See our write-ups and more here: thefilmstage.com/features/the-50-best-sci-fi-films-of-the-21st-century-thus-far/
Not on Letterboxd:
218. "Camera falls from airplane and lands in pig pen-MUST WATCH END!!"