I went into the screening of Cloud Atlas very warily. I loved the 6-minute trailer, but I was scared they wouldn’t be able to balance the storylines. I thought it would be a beautiful failure. The images and scenes would be wonderful, but wouldn’t make much sense in the long run. As the movie progressed, this fear lessened to a degree that it no longer existed. The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer have made an epic masterpiece of the highest grade.
It’s difficult to find something to nitpick about this film on. It’s just that good. The acting here is phenomenal. All of the actors are allowed to exist in a sort of playground where they can be all different types of characters. I had known that these actors were playing all these characters beforehand, so a lot of the game was guessing who was who in what makeup. The all star cast has the ability to be these characters fully and make them their own, with meaning. Rare does a character feel like they don’t matter to each existing storyline. This lends itself to the tagline, “Everything is Connected.” Everything feels connected in this movie and that’s amazing.
One of the things that I thought this movie did brilliantly was pacing, in timing as well as in mood. You’ll laugh in this movie. You’ll cry in this movie. You’ll be scared at times. Each emotion is given its due in full force. When you’re sad, they keep hitting you with sad until the release of happiness comes. This movie pulls your heart in every direction and it’s one of the most worthy rides of a film in history. You’re getting pulled every which way, and you love it.
This element is only compounded by the brilliant score for the movie. I went and saw this with a friend of mine who wasn’t really interested in seeing the film and he was blown away. As we were walking out of the theater, sniffling, he says, “Holy crap that soundtrack was amazing.” I agreed (and I’m actually listening to it whilst writing this). Seriously, if you like film score, you owe it to yourself to go download this on from Amazon or iTunes or whatever musical God you serve. :p You won’t regret it.
Watching the characters in each of their storylines is a thing of beauty. Each storyline is given it’s due as a plot. None of them are rushed through in the almost 3 hours of film here. The directors give each different timeline their own time to make it through each plot and resolve everything for the characters. This closure provides some of the strongest emotions of the film. Not everybody gets a happy ending, but they all get closure in their own ways.
The special effects are another strong-suit here. Of course, being the Wachowskis, they have to have some sort of brilliant effects in here. The scenes in New Seoul are filled with “matrix-esque” technology and fight scenes. It’s like a blend between The Matrix and Minority Report in weaponry and fight styles. There are also scenes where they mix tribal tech with future tech, and they both come in handy.
My favorite part of this film is the little struggles you go through with each character. The actors display all these small emotions on their faces at points and you feel what they’re going through. Tom Hanks’ tribal character goes through immense fear, to shame, to courage, to amazement, to anger, to joy, and then to contentment and love. And that’s just ONE of the storylines that he takes part in. Jim Broadbent gives some of the best lines of the film as Timothy Cavendish. He’s definitely one of the characters tasked with the movie’s comic relief.
This movie release Friday here in America. You need to see this film. I watched it with a friend of mine, who is a staunchly evangelical Christian from the South, and he rooted for one of the gay characters throughout the film. That’s a hell of a gap to bridge in 3 hours, but Cloud Atlas accomplishes it fantastically. This film needs to be seen by as many people as possible, because it doesn’t just end as a film. It’s a call-to-action for the people of the universe, which is echoed in the line given by one of the main characters towards the end of the film,
“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present. And by each crime, and every kindness, we birth our future.”