Posted on 12/07/12 09:19 PM
(Spoilers Contained Within)
It would take a very long time to go into detail about all the different plot elements in this genre defying masterpiece - so I think that I will cut to the chase: You don't have to be particularly observant or intelligent or have your wits about you to understand anything that is going on in this movie. I think the only requirements are that you have a pulse and that you have some feeling. There are parallels drawn between the different threads spanning centuries and entertaining elements throughout each - it is enough to just pay attention to what is going on and not try to do a top down analysis that requires a PhD and 20 years of movie critiquing experience.
Cloud Atlas has segments of comedy. I have never laughed so hard in all my life and huge kudos go out to Jim Broadbent for his performance as Timothy Cavendish. I never thought a nursing home could be so hilarious! Cloud Atlas works as a compelling science fiction film with a very moving segment set in Neo Seoul Korea in the year 2144. The sets are immaculate and the visual effects are grand and jaw dropping. Cloud Atlas also has segments of thoughtful drama and tense nail biting action. The magical part is that all of these stories are connected - and one of the ways that this is illustrated is by the use and reuse of actors throughout the movie. Souls of individuals are transforming as time wears on and each scene in the movie offers insight into the moral standing of each of the characters involved. The characters themselves (and it would seem their souls) are also doing a bit of introspection and making evaluations of their own as the dynamics of each story thread unfold.
Doona Bae turns in an admirable performance as a slave worker who is a clone (named Somni 451) that is used to serve guests at a café in the Neo Seoul segment. Tom Hanks delivers an awesome performance with his Doctor in the 1849 segment - twisted and evil and poisoning a man to steal his gold. Jim Broadbent delivers an outstanding performance as Timothy Cavendish as I mentioned earlier. Halle Barry is also a gem in the roles she plays - the best of which I think is Luisa Rey - someone who is finding out about corruption at a nuclear power plant and is avoiding death and working to expose some dirty secrets.
I cannot say enough about this movie. If I were voting for academy awards I am pretty sure I would give a good number of them to this film. Best Picture. Best Actor: Hanks. Best Supporting Actress: Doona Bae. Best Supporting Actor: Jim Broadbent. Best Director: The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer. Best Makeup. Best Visual Effects. Best Editing. Best Costume Design. I say this a lot, and I might have some bias since I love sci-fi and I hope that one day sci-fi will get the recognition it deserves. After viewing this movie the first time and walking out of the theater I was certain this would be a contender and a new benchmark in the film industry.
But I have had the idea in my head that this movie has received mixed reviews from critics because it was privately funded. It has also received mixed reviews because I think there was some thought that you had to connect dots and get some crazy message from the film. More negativity came when the news articles came around discussing Larry Wachowski had become transgendered and renamed herself Lana Wachowski. I suppose that there are so many crazy variables coming together on this that there was a certain degree of failure to it. But what is good art and who makes good art? And is everyone in the world without some kind of adversity? Isn't imperfection inherent to the human condition? Are we free to make choices and do what we want with our lives and our bodies?
Had the world been open minded like I am I suppose we would be standing in line at the theater time and time again to see this awesome film - it is unfortunate that it has had to deal with the issues mentioned above. If you want my honest opinion, I STRONGLY URGE you to see this film. It is a beautiful work and may perhaps be the 2001: A Space Odyssey of the present day ---- or so we will realize after the dust settles (exactly like 2001).