New Movie: ‘Cloud Atlas’ (Updated)

New Movie: ‘Cloud Atlas’ (Updated)

Apr 30

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HD digital copies of Cloud Atlas are available today. Blu-Ray and DVD versions will be available on May 16. Click here for details.

cloud-atlas-ad

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RELATED LINKS:

Official Movie Website
‘Cloud Atlas’ on Facebook
Wikipedia on ‘Cloud Atlas’ (the film)
Wikipedia on ‘Cloud Atlas’ (the novel)

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcCRRBjp9VQ

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“Cloud Atlas” explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Action, mystery and romance weave dramatically through the story as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in the distant future. Written and directed by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, and Andy Wachowski, the film is based on the 2004 novel of the same name by David Mitchell. With an ensemble cast to cover the film’s multiple storylines, production began in September 2011 at Studio Babelsberg in Germany. The film is scheduled to be released on October 26, 2012. Mitchell’s novel won the British Book Awards Literary Fiction Award and the Richard & Judy Book of the Year award, and was short-listed for the 2004 Booker Prize, Nebula Award, Arthur C. Clarke Award, and other awards.

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CLOUD ATLAS
By Peter Debruge
Variety
September 8, 2012

Original Link

An intense three-hour mental workout rewarded with a big emotional payoff, “Cloud Atlas” suggests that all human experience is connected in the pursuit of freedom, art and love. As inventive narratives go, there’s outside the box, and then there’s pioneering another dimension entirely, and this massive, independently financed collaboration among Tom Tykwer and Wachowski siblings Lana and Andy courageously attempts the latter, interlacing six seemingly unrelated stories in such a way that parallels erupt like cherry bombs in the imagination. The R-rated epic should find a substantial audience when Warner Bros. releases it Oct. 26, assuming critics don’t kill it in the cradle.

Based on David Mitchell’s novel — more like six novels really, with each one executed in a different genre, then split and wrapped around the next in a nested, “The Saragossa Manuscript”-style construction — this daunting adaptation rejects the book’s innovative, but overly literary format in favor or a more cinematic approach, opting to tell all half-dozen tales at once. Like juggling Ginsu blades, the tricky feat is part stunt, part skill, but undeniably entertaining to witness as half a millennium of world history unfolds, much of it set in centuries still to come.

Whereas the directors’ earlier films hook viewers from the opening scene, this one functions more like a symphony, laying out snatches of all six separate strands and gradually building toward grand movements in which these elements merge in different combinations. Playing to their respective strengths, the Wachowskis tackle the earliest and two future-set segments, while Tykwer manages the three more contempo episodes, including a comedic one featuring Jim Broadbent as Timothy Cavendish, a borderline-senile book editor set in present-day London.

Broadbent, like the rest of the multiculti cast, reappears in the other sections as well, fully reinventing himself as a briny sea captain and a world-famous composer, plus a couple other bit roles so cleverly disguised by makeup, auds might not recognize him on first viewing. Each of the stories involves some measure of romance, beginning in 1849, with American lawyer Adam Ewing (Jim Sturgess) separated from his beloved (Doona Bae) by seafaring adventures among the Pacific Islands, and extending to the year 2346, where a lowly goat-herder (Tom Hanks) falls for an emissary (Halle Berry) from the opposite end of the technological spectrum in post-apocalyptic Hawaii.

Berry also stars in her own thread, playing Luisa Rey, a San Francisco reporter circa 1973 investigating the imminent threat of a nuclear reactor meltdown, receiving key assistance from scientist Rufus Sixsmith (James D’Arcy), who might just be the same man seen in the Cambridge-set 1936 chapter, a touching same-sex love story involving an aspiring musician (Ben Whishaw) attempting to write what will become the film’s theme, “The Cloud Atlas Sextet,” a beautiful piece actually composed by Tykwer, Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil.

The riskiest and most essential of the threads — the one on which the entire tapestry depends — takes place in NeoSeoul, 2144, a socially stratified “Blade Runner”-like city in which genetically cloned fabricants serve their consumerist masters. (By 2346, the middle class has been so ruthlessly eliminated that the world may as well be divided into cave-dwellers and astronauts.) Because the six segments naturally assume different styles, the division of labor among directors and their respective units complements rather than compromises the project’s overall success, with the makeup and visual effects departments each carrying off seemingly impossible feats of transformation.

In Mitchell’s novel, readers must draw their own connections between the tales, with only the recurring motif of a comet-shaped birthmark to suggest the continuity of a single soul across time. The film makes the congruities clearer, as Adam Ewing’s Pacific journal is read by Frobischer, whose epistolary correspondence with Sixsmith resurfaces in the Luisa Rey mystery, eventually published by Cavendish, whose own story is adapted to film and viewed as a futuristic recording much later by Sonmi-451 (Bae) in NeoSeoul. The final connection is best left for auds to discover, but suffice to say that common themes echo throughout the film, where the gesture of liberating a slave in 1849 reverberates through time, culminating in a paradigm-changing insurrection whose denouement occurs two centuries later.

Certain links are impossible to miss by virtue of the way the three writer-directors assemble the film, and yet, given the sheer scope of the source material, so much has been omitted that one’s attention must be engaged at all times as the mosaic triggers an infinite range of potentially profound personal responses.

No less exciting is the way “Cloud Atlas” challenges its actors to portray characters outside their race or gender. For instance Hugo Weaving plays villains in nearly every age, ranging from a heartless Korean consumerist to a Nurse Ratched-like ward master. Indeed, the filmmakers put the lie to the notion that casting — an inherently discriminatory art — cannot be adapted to a more enlightened standard of performance over mere appearance, reminding us why the craft is rightfully called “acting.”

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3 comments

  1. Susan

    Given how phenominal “The Matrix” was, I would expect no less with this incredible project. I feel that there are so many mysteries in life, so much that we can’t quite remember. Movies like this touch your soul with the faint memory that so much more is going on than we can currently remember and understand.

  2. C.Ayers

    Not to mention Tom Hanks has NEVER been in a dud movie that I know of!

  3. Marie Rhodes

    Interesting movie. Hard to describe my own reaction both good and painful. Sound track disturbed me. As sound is a higher form of language which was not pleasing to my sences. It is an important film as it brings us to understanding about our many lives. On the other hand there is so much more to who we are in truth. We are so much more than the individual lives we live. Their is levels of being that trasnsends the individual form in illusion. I look forward to the time someone can make a movie on a level of infinate eternal self. Or the many selves as one. Perhaps only a spiritual experience can give that to us. Yet this movie does give a good look at how different lives we play out different roles. The changing forms were hard for me to understand. Be sure to watch the credits at the end of the movie where it show who played each life. That should be seen at the begining so you have better clue of who is who in what life. GREAT ACTING and and great make up and certainly woth seeing.

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