- Directors: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowsk, Lana Wachowski
- Writers: David Mitchell, Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski
- Language: English
- Release Date: (USA)
The Matrix trilogy duo The Wachowskis and the Run Lola Run genius Tom Tykwer have decided to put their brilliant and innovative minds together. And what did bring them together? An ambitious and somewhat extravagant project of converting David Mitchell’s novel into a 2012 blockbuster “Cloud Atlas”.
To say that we were stunned would be an understatement of how we felt when the first trailer was released. The first question that arouse was naturally: “Are they completely out of their mind?” The question that followed was: “How on earth will they make this work?” And we were right to ask ourselves these questions because the book itself was quite confusing. The very theme of Mitchell’s novel is philosophical and metaphysical, therefore hard to understand. What made people read it is the fact that it’s about past lives, which is intriguing and always amusing, and of course, it has a bit of sci-fi in it. To even think it would be possible to transfer it on to the big screen is lucid, and to actually do it is completely mad. But was the end of this unusual quest a happy one? Unexpectedly, yes.
On November 14th “Cloud Atlas” finally hit the big screens in Serbia. Even though I sat at the last row next to a batshit crazy person and even though the tallest guy on earth had to sit right in front of me, I was still mesmerized when the credits showed up. All in all it was breathtaking. Three directors had an unbelievably hard task to compose not one, not two, but six stories spread across various epochs of time. The Wachowski duo directed 19th century and futuristic segments (their favorite), while Tykwer got 1930’s, 1970’s and 2012 segments. And all of them did a great job. Naturally there are some parts which you would have fast-forwarded if you had watched it at home, some parts were stagnant a bit, but what is most important – there was not one single part that was boring and pointless.
Yes, at the very beginning it’s all quite confusing (but isn’t the theme of past lives, as well as life itself confusing?), but after you get to know the characters it all becomes clear. At first, the sequences are short, but as the time goes by, they become longer. What is the most beautiful thing is a surprising mixture of emotions that the film deals with. At one moment you are watching an emotional breakdown, in the next you are laughing out loud, and right after that you are squeezing your seat because you’re too nervous – will they survive or not, and then you lose yourself while gazing at a spectacular shot of futuristic city.
Naturally, exquisite scenery and brilliantly made story would be all for nothing if there weren’t for brilliant cast. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae and Ben Whishaw play main characters in this fabulous movie, but they are not the only ones. We mustn’t forget James D’Arcy, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, Xun Zhou and Keith David who all did a fabulous job in somewhat supporting roles. One of the best features of “Cloud Atlas” is actually the makeup department. Why? All these actors show up in almost every story, sometimes as main characters, sometimes as the side ones – and you practically aren’t able to recognize them. You will be surprised who acted who when you look at the credits.
As for the acting – job well done. Some may say that we can’t see anything new in their acting, but I am ready to argue this statement! Only the most arrogant critique who has never acted, or has but never with success, can say something like this. You don’t need to know a lot about acting, actually you don’t need more than a common sense to realize that getting in to one character is hard, but to transfer yourself like that from one role to another requires a lot of skill, patience and complete devotion, and you don’t see that very often. It’s not just that you couldn’t recognize them because of their superb makeup, but because of their completely different characters.
Even if you didn’t read the book, you will be able to enjoy the movie. Yes, it is very long (almost three hours) but you won’t even feel it. It doesn’t even matter which genre do you prefer, because this moves covers it all – from tragedy, to 70’s action and nowadays comedy, from political theme of eugenics, sci-fi and romance, to drama. The specter of emotions and human virtues and flaws is unbelievable – purity, hatred, love, lust, freedom, power, weakness, greed etc. This 2012 spectacle combines everything you love and hate, “Cloud Atlas” deals with universal problems that have been a question of many debates throughout the time. This movie reminds us that the history always repeats itself, and that it’s about time to do something that will change the path to a complete disaster, to which we navigate every single day.
Author: Tamara Biljman
Dragana Kostica is the Belgrade-based editor in chief and founder of Still in Belgrade art, culture and club scene magazine. She holds a Master of Arts in Cultural Policy and Management in Arts (MA of Arts) and a Bachelor degree in Archaeology.