Cloud Atlas (Blu-ray)
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An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.
Gideon, South Africa. 25 January 2014
Great Movie, great price, looks good on my tv, plays good on my ps3. Nothing to complain about.
Justin, South Africa. 7 February 2014
Possibly one of the most ambitious movies ever made. Well acted, edited, written and directed. It was never a commercial hit, will probably become a cult classic, but either way it will always have a place in my collection as a favorite.
Victor, South Africa. 3 June 2014
The Wachowskis have kept things relatively quiet over the last few years, with Speed Racer (2008) their only directorial outing since The Matrix Revolutions (2003). This break has been spent developingCloud Atlas (2012); since 2008, they've muscled their way through funding landmines and huge casting calls and the result is one of the most expensive independent films of all time. Cloud Atlas' production journey mirrors the extent of their vision, as they team up with Tom Tykwer to adapt David Mitchell's mammoth sci-fi fantasy novel. The hardest task for a critic will undoubtedly be to analyse Cloud Atlas without using up every sentence on plotting.
The Wachowskis/Tykwer have spliced together six stories which start in the South Pacific in 1849, as American lawyer Adam Ewing (Jim Sturgess) encounters a Moriori slave; in Scotland, 1936, budding musician Robert Frobisher (Ben Whishaw) struggles to write a masterpiece under the tutelage of famous composer Vyvyan Ayrs; investigative journalist Luisa Rey (Halle Berry) uncovers a nuclear reactor crisis in California, 1973; writer and publisher Timothy Cavendish (Jim Broadbent) tries to escape from a nursing home in modern day Britain; a genetically-engineered 'fabricant' (Doona Bae), designed to serve fast-food, seeks to liberate herself from the shackles of corporate slavery in 2144; and a tribe member (Tom Hanks) communicates with humans on distant planets in a post-apocalyptic Earth in the year 2321. Out of breath?
Crediting the actors in traditional parenthesis would be folly in this case, as an illustrious cast from Hanks and Hugo Weaving to Berry and James D'Arcy multi-role. Jim Broadbent and Hugh Grant make the best of it, the former seamlessly hopping between his composer and publisher characters while the latter fits oddly well into his role as a reverend-cum-venture-capitalist. The idea is that the film aligns itself with Mitchell's original message: experiences of suffering and self-determination are wholly universal. From the slave in 1849 to the 24th century tribes among the dystopian lands of Hawaii, each character seeks emancipation from tyranny or to inform the world of greater injustices taking place on our doorstep.
For all its wisdom and intelligence however, there's a great sense that the quirks and oddities of the stories are more valuable in the book. The Wachowskis and Tykwer have admirably stitched the eras together based around theme, flicking from period to period in the same way D. W. Griffith did in Intolerance (1916), but there's just too much ground to cover. It can be immensely cerebral and contemplative but also confusing and hyper-tangential. By telling such diverse tales, the idea is that existential journeys are portrayed as collective, but it's hard to ever fully engage in each segment. The critique of corporatisation and honour-thy-consumer in the Neo-Seoul era is most profound, but is left unexcavated by the complexity of the whole narrative.
Cloud Atlas is a film with more rewards should you have read the original novel, but as a piece of cinema, it feels as unearthly and evasive as Terrance Malick's The Tree of Life (2011). The central allusion in the novel is that humanity is definitively predatory and Mitchell's characters are simple reincarnations of themselves in different contexts. This principle is tough to latch on to in the film and at times can feel elaborate yet dismissive. That being said, all scrutiny matters not since, according to Broadbent's snobbish Cavendish, "what is a critic but one who reads quickly, arrogantly, but never wisely".
Gary, South Africa. 1 September 2014
This is a hard review to write - as the movie Cloud Atlas blew me away - literally right out of my seat. I watched the movie late one night - and I have to say that it started out as a jumble of images and scenes, but as you progress in the movie and the story line becomes clearer, you engender feelings towards the main characters. These feelings grow, and with each passing moment, you feel more part of all the stories - Cloud Atlas explores how actions and consequences of individual people, and their ripples, influence and impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future - all flowing into a beautiful symphony, that draws us all together in the inter-connectedness of the world, time, and individual lives.
Don't read the book first - watch the movie, it does begin in a way that will challenge you to the utmost to stick around and make sense of all the different stories. But it is well worth the wait, and the time invested.
If you watch only one movie that will open your heart to thoughts and emotions other than your own - Cloud Atlas is it. It is a beautiful story, woven together into a tapestry of connected lives. And if you let it, it will change perceptions....
It is a movie you will want to watch again - and at the price advertised it can't be beaten.
Buy this Movie!!!
Jared Smith, South Africa. 22 August 2015
what a life changing story. really putting the message across of how every small thing has a large impact
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