Directed & Written By: Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) Lana & Andy Wachowski (The Matrix)
Cast: Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump), Halle Berry (X-Men), Jim Broadbent (The Iron Lady), Hugo Weaving (Captain America), Jim Sturgess (21), Susan Sarandon (Arbitrage), Hugh Grant (Love Actually)
A few years ago my son turned me on to an astonishing book called “Cloud Atlas”, the third novel by British author David Mitchell. Last night I saw a screening of the film. It is as astonishing as the book, and the difficult transition from novel to screen was handled with great understanding and finesse! Additionally, there are Brilliant Performances by a stellar cast each of who play multiple roles, and it’s all lead by TOM HANKS, who will remind you again, that he’s one of the greatest actors of our time.
As with the book, 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. Each member of the ensemble appears in multiple roles as the movie moves through time.
The film’s storyline begins in the Pacific Islands of 1849 and winds its way through eras old and new as far forward as the beautifully imagined eye-popping Neo Seoul of circa 2144. The cast is big, hugely talented, and amazing as they each slip into a variety of character skins. You’ll find men playing women, women playing men, even African-Americans playing Caucasians. It’s a fun and exciting who’s who guessing game that you’ll sometimes figure out, but most times, you’ll just wonder. Fear not though, all is revealed in the credits.
I’m sure this film will find its critics, but for me it’s definitely one of the best films of the year. It has also set the record as the most expensive independently financed feature of all time, at approximately $100 million, and it shows everywhere you look on the screen. I believe that Tykwer and the Wachowskis have created a true work of filmic art, that they dared to take big chances, and have fashioned a true cinematic eye-opening blockbuster of a movie. Its grand style, in both scope and ambition, will challenge you as it entertains you and transports you to other times and places. It’s a true movie going experience not to be missed.
A word of caution, walk into this film with an open mind and try not to read or listen to too much about it beforehand. A good deal of the fun of the film is in your discovery of its themes and characters. To miss that, is to miss much of the fun.