Cert: 15 Year: 2012 Length: 172 mins
Cinema Handout (PDF 153KB)
Score: 84% Attendance: 108
Perhaps this season can be summed up by 'films to make you think'. If so, this one will definitely fit the part. If there is one thing that unites the critics, it is that you should see this film more than once...and that you will want to! Not content with covering a lifetime, 'Cloud Atlas' takes us from the past to the future, from 1849 to 2346, through various unconnected stories...or are they?
The continuity is carried by each actor playing different roles in different times; spotting which actor in disguise will be at least one of the topics discussed after the film. And there are stars galore for you here Tom Hanks and Halle Berry get top billing, but look out for Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving and even Hugh Grant and Susan Sarandon...if you can recognize them.
What's it about? A good question. It is a love story, but so much more. I could talk about its spiritual message, but is it really about reincarnation, or Taoism? I could talk about its politics, but is this post-Marxism, or just post Matrix? Maybe it is simply our old friends 'good versus evil', or heroes and anti-heroes. It IS based on David Mitchell's book of the same name, but all I would say is, read the book after you have seen the film, not before.
Cinematically, the Wachowskis directed 'The Matrix', so expect some fantastic effects, but there are parts where we are taken into much gentler directions. The directors split the film up between them, so Tykwer ('Perfume', 'Run Lola Run') brings his own feel to the movie too. It is science fiction, farce, suspense, even melodrama. Overall, as Roger Ebert says, "To borrow Churchill's description of Russia, 'it is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.'...But, oh, what a film this is! And what a demonstration of the magical, dreamlike qualities of the cinema."
For once we have a big budget movie ($100m+), and one made in the States, but don't expect to go to sleep; this film is anything but boring. Maybe we should run a competition - 'what is it about...?'
It's funny, violent and prodigiously romantic; it has immense heart and more gorgeous cinematic moments than I can describe.
Andrew O'hehir, Salon.com
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