Cloud Atlas (2012)
Hollywood is a system built on numbers, simple dollars and cents. If Cloud Atlas fails it will inevitably be brought up in the room when the next daring filmmaker is trying to get money or distribution for a film that goes against the grain. Whether you love it or hate it, I think it’s important that you plunk down your $10 and see Cloud Atlas in theaters. (xxx)
I went into Cloud Atlas relatively blind. All I knew was that it was an insanely sprawling sci-fi epic from The Wachowskis & Tom Tykwer, and that my favorite South Korean actress Bae Doona was going to co-star in it. I was a little hesitant on seeing it due to its divided response, but the above quote convinced me to see it immediately. Because of its colossal ambition, the film took a while to grow on me, but once I was able to connect its sprawling plots it really struck and surprised me by being intensely life-affirming. I’m still elated as I write about it, the film put me in such a positive mood of reflection and ultimately its beautiful message of humanity made me cry.
Its duration and complex structure of interweaving plotlines may be intimidating, but as I started the film I approached each plot as its own movie. This made it easier to follow along instead of immediately getting lost in the magnitude of its massive reach. Once I was able to grasp where each story was headed, I let everything blend together and it became incredibly impressive to watch. Some stories connected better than others, but the editing and presentation is fully awe-inspiring. Everything cuts so fast together and moves along quickly, so that even weaker segments don’t bog the film down.
Cloud Atlas is one of most ridiculously ambitious films of its time and still manages to succeed. Mostly funded from foreign investors outside of the Hollywood system, it’s a bold new move in the world of transnational cinema. Even if nothing else worked, the film is worth-seeing alone for Bae Doona’s stellar Neo-Korean plotline. I’ve been obsessed with Bae Doona and Korean cinema for several years, and it’s exciting to see her transcend towards a global audience. Her story, “An Orison of Sonmi~451” is also the most Matrix-like, so fans of science-fiction, anime, and the Wachowskis will definitely be pleased.
Please see Cloud Atlas in theaters if you can. By showing up and supporting the film, you’re making an important vote that you want to see bold and inventive cinema. It’s not perfect, but it’s still one of the most remarkable film events of the year.
My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops? - Cloud Atlas