“I believe there is another world waiting for us, a better world, and I’ll be waiting for you there”
Cloud Atlas is, without a doubt, a wondrous masterpiece. The fear of the directors and producers having bit off more than they can chew is extinguished early on in this mysterious sci-fi fantasy drama as each of the major players in the film are introduced in unique and intriguing ways, perfect for forcing you to watch right through until the end. However, this is definitely not a film you are going to want to watch and expect to be completely be fulfilled by after one viewing. With so much to follow spread over five generations of characters from the past to distant and Apocalypto–like future this is a film that more than merits numerous watches to fully comprehend.
I can’t say I fully understand why Cloud Atlas was looked over by the big film awards as it felt quite the epic and was more than convincing throughout with big budget effects put to outstanding use and acting that was right up there with those films that were nominated… Apart from maybe Tom Hanks’ cockney nutjob accent, but that didn’t last too long! I’m sure however that this film is liable to completely split audiences to love it or hate it but for a mega 3-hour long film it really didn’t feel like it and kept me engaged all the way through, more scared than anything in case I missed a detail or an actor cameo in the different generations but even the sharpest eye was probably grateful to the end credits that showed us all the parts played by the famous names involved, including Ben Whishaw dressed as a woman.
What is clever about the films narrative is how it can manage to skip between the time periods but still be easily coherent to watch with everything adding up towards an end result and even minor things having influence upon other earlier time periods. The reflective approach of shots used to mimic scenes across the time periods is also a very stylistic and beautiful approach. The film as a whole is stunning to look at and the makeup and costume is in fact so good that it becomes hard at times to realise that it is Hugh Grant, Halle Berry or Tom Hanks buried underneath… although Tom Hanks is always the most recognizable… it was always gonna be hard to hide that mug!
The poetic rhythm of Cloud Atlas draws beautiful connections between time periods and really emphasises the words uttered by Robert Frobisher in the climaxing moments of there being multiple worlds where we meet the same people again and again, a cosmic connection, a bond struck between two. We see this again and again in the time periods as every time the characters played by Hanks and Berry cross paths, sometimes for only seconds and others intended for life bonds, most heartbreaking maybe was the plane crash where the 70’s Hanks dies.
A tear made its way from my eye and down my cheek however when Robert kills himself in the bath in the hope of finding his true love again in another life and his choice to avoid Rufus in his last moments so he could leave this earth and return again in another time period. I like the fact that the acts from each generation are carried throughout and shape the future and how the kindness of one man to a black slave shaped how the uprising and calling upon earth colonies came about in the end. The idea of one good turn deserving another is again poetic and amazing to watch.
Each story in its own right is a short film making perfect sense on its own, most hilarious and silly of all but maybe one of the most entertaining was that of Jim Broadbent’s character in modern day England, gets trapped in an evil care home by his bastard brother (played by Tom Hanks who is obsessed with being evil in this film apparently) but finds an escape from Hugo Weaving in drag and gets hi beaten up by angry Scotsmen in a pub while the OAPs have a quiet pint. Very entertaining stuff. My favourite time period however, an surprising myself here, was 1936 and Robert Frobisher played by Ben Whishaw, not only dramatic but powerful and every bit of praise it gets it fully deserves. If you want the part with the most wonderful of effects however, you will enjoy New Seoul with its TRON-like buzz and cool Matrix-esque story I don’t think there is much in any film right now that can come close to the rush this gave me while watching.
I strongly suggest you watch Cloud Atlas where the bad reviews have put people off I think it is a film you have to watch to know if you’ll like it or not and there’s no better time than the present. It is a beautiful creation envisioned perfectly and pulled off to its full potential.