ZeldaGiygasLord's Review of Cloud Atlas
Quite honestly, Cloud Atlas is one of the greatest films I have ever seen. It's emotional, powerful, epic, creative, artistic, thought-provoking, intense, genre-bending, and extremely well-made.
The acting is absolutely incredible: the main actors embody all their different characters perfectly. Seeing them play such diverse roles (many of them against type) is a real testament to their talent and that of the directors. And the makeup is easily the most amazing I have ever seen on film. Halle Berry becomes a white woman (!), an Indian woman, a balding old Asian man (!!!!), and more. Hugo Weaving transforms into a Nazi, a sadistic fat woman (yes, it's as terrifying as it sounds), a guy who looks like an Asian version of Spock, and a warty, green-skinned version of the devil. Whites become Asians, Asians become Mexicans, blacks become whites, men become women, and it is all done perfectly. Great care was taken to ensure that the characters were clearly different, and yet you can still identify who plays who. Because of this, the theme of reincarnation comes across very well. The makeup is totally convincing and awe-inspiring to look at.
The film's six stories intertwine perfectly - the emotional feeling of one scene always connects to the emotions of the scene following it, so the parts never feel disjointed or messy. The problem with having to write an easily-digestible review is that it's very difficult to go into the content of the stories. There's so much information in the film that to try to tell the story here would be totally pointless. There are countless ways (visual, emotional, and in terms of story-telling) that the six stories connect, and I would need to go into them extensively to properly explain why this movie is genius. The film cannot be described in words. You must see it yourself.
One thing I admired about the film is that, even in the time periods when visuals were not required to tell the story (1930s England, 1970s San Francisco, etc.), there is still attention paid to making the film visually interesting. Both Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis know how to use the camera creatively, and to great effect.
The themes of the movie...love, connections, and the effects that our lives can have on others - are both profound and complex, and it will get you talking for a long time after you leave the theater. The futuristic worlds are creative, the characters are memorable (despite there being so many of them), the visuals are striking, and the music is some of the best I've ever heard. I haven't been able to stop looking at pictures from the film or listening to the Cloud Atlas Sextet ever since I saw the film 4 months ago.
Cloud Atlas is what movies are all about. It's beautiful, it's epic, it's totally unique, and it has a lot to say. The fact that it wasn't nominated for any Oscars is an absolute disgrace (seriously?! Not even for makeup?!). This is a movie that will be written about in film history books decades from now. It will be watched even when this year's Oscar-winners have faded away like a cloud. It is an incredible achievement - both a very entertaining film and a massive step forward in terms of what cinema can be. For your own sake, watch this movie.
Oh, and even if you don't get it, it's totally worth it just to see Hugo Weaving play a grumpy, middle-aged British woman. Trust me, it will make your life so much better.