Saturday, October 27, 2012


Language: English
Director: Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski,  Andy Wachowski
Year of Release: 2012
One Line Review: 'Cloud Atlas' is a magnificent journey of love,life and death sets beyond time and space. Its told in a beautiful canvas which is visually radiant. The screenplay connects all the dots out there and the well cemented by the tranquil music. However to go far through this journey, its better to read the book first.

 A word on David Mitchell's 'Cloud Atlas' before starting - This 2004 Booker prize nominated best seller was differentiated for its matchless narrative structure. The book is a collection of six stories told in six different periods that takes the reader from a 1850 voyage through pacific ocean to a post apocalyptic period. When all the stories are distinct from each other in all sense, Mitchells connects these six vowels in an entirely bizarre manner. Leaving a message to the reader that everything in the universe is connected  beyond space and time, the writer explores his themes on the various playgrounds of birth,life,love,death. Its not about six stories, its like a sextet overlapping six soloists. No wonder if you feel this as unfilimable.

By adapting 'Cloud Atlas', Wachowski's and Tom Tyker did something that was believed to an impossible task, proving how creative and ambitious they are. The question is how far did the trio succeed in this herculean task. Fortunately the screenplay is justifying to the book to a great extent and stands out to be one of the most decent movie adaptations ever came in Hollywood - We must not forget the fact that, we are discussion about something that was considered to be purely unfilmable. (Read More...)

As said before, the movie is interwoven with six characters and unfolded in a non linear manner. Set in six different periods with different backgrounds like a 1850 pacific voyage,life of an musician set in Belgium told in 1931, a thriller set in 1970's where a a gossip-rag reporter who ferrets out chicanery in the nuclear industry, the run of a book publisher from a set of goons told in 2012,execution of a robot waitress of 2144 and lastly the meeting between an tribesman and a member of the last remnants of technologically-advanced civilization which is happening in a post apocalyptic period.

The main cast the includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry,Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent ,Jim Sturgess and Doona Bae. Since the movie is playing with themes like Revelation, Reincarnation, Prophecy etc, the main cast recurs in all the six stories as various characters from minors to majors or sometimes as a very quick cameos. The performance from all actors deserves lauding especially Jim Broadbent. He was the best in the whole in the attire of Timothy Cavendish, a runaway publisher. Tom Hanks had his moments but never soars high like his other film. Another pleasant feature of this cast was Halle Berry. Really happy to see her after a long time, that too dancing over a couple of solid roles like Lusia Rey,Meronym and as Ovid, a male Korean white doctor who was totally unrecognizable. Doona Bae as  Sonmi-451 was a perfect casting for the role capturing the innocence of the character totally.

Six stories of Cloud Atlas: (From left to right) - The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing
Letters from Zedelghem
Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery
The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish
An Orison of Sonmi~451
Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After

Another important factor that nails the movie was the mystic music. 'The Cloud Atlas Sextet' is something that enslaves your mind the moment you hear. Something that can't stop you from hearing it again and again. The cinematography was totally colossal and magnificent. Especially the Neo Seoul that gives you a Blade Runner feeling. How else it can be from the makers of Matrix series?

However I have to speak about some of the downfalls I felt in this movie. Adapting six stories and compiling it to a 3hr movie is not a simple task, especially when each story have a scope to be developed an independent film of 2hrs. So its quite natural to omit many elements and sharpen the best parts. Unfortunately, the screenplay sacked off some crucial moments from the book, that leaves the audience to baffle a lot. The sacking off also resulted in failing to develop strong bond between the characters, turning it to be beautiful mess with less emotions and moments to keep you at the edge of the seats. For example, the relation affiliation between Jocasta Ayrs and Robert Frobisher was never explored so as the love between Timothy Cavendish and  Ursula. The audience wonders why Frobisher faces and emotional dilemma so as what made Autua to hid in Adam Ewing's cabin. The strong bond between the stowaway and a wealthy Englishman was never felt strong. The crew also made a mistake by limiting David Gyasi to one story. Also the narration - when Mitchel polarized the six stories in terms of language, the same was not felt in the movie. Can be forgiven since there is a great difference between what's reading and listening.

Halle Berry's six Avatars of Cloud Atlas: (From left to right): Luisa Rey,Meronym,Indian Party Guest,Native Tribal Woman,Jocasta Ayrs,Ovid
The recurring cast was felt odd as some moments. They were recurred only because they had to. It was better if the cast had meaty roles in all these stories instead of those senseless cameos.It was Halle Berry who was mostly victimized for this. Except on some roles, the makeup was poorly convincing throughout. Again it was Halle Berry who became a victim of pure makeup. Hally Berry who broods over the six stories were easily recognizable. Let it be any avatar of Halle Berry - native tribal woman, Jocasta Arrys, Lusia Rey,  Indian Party Guest or  Meronym - there was hardly any difference on the appearance. Meanwhile, Berry's Ovid was the best in the whole movie in terms of makeup. We all know Tom Hanks is no Johhny Depp, but he far times better than the lady lead of the film.

'Cloud Atlas' is a magnificent journey of love,life and death sets beyond time and space. Its told in a beautiful canvas which is visually radiant. The screenplay connects all the dots out there and the well cemented by the tranquil music. However to go far through this journey, its better to read the book first.

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