Movie Review: ‘Cloud Atlas’ and its importance

Cloud Atlas – the latest film by The Wachowski siblings (The Matrix Trilogy) and Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) is based on the ambitious novel of the same name written by David Mitchell. I haven’t read the novel yet, but as soon as I get my hands on it, I will read it, since now I understand its concept, and the message that the novel is trying to convey. An important message, indeed, and intriguing enough to make one think about questions such as, who are we and how and why we are all connected.

A story about six different stories that spreads across various seasons, eras and times. In an epic manner on the screen it voyages from the 19th century to early 1930s, the mid 1970s, 2012, the future and beyond future, a voyage through which we are introduced to various interesting characters; performed by the same ensemble of actors articulately and passionately.  We witness their experiences, lives, emotions, relationships and how they from past, future and present are connected, and what role does art, music, writing, technology and film plays. How these things shape not only our lives, but our past, present and future. These six stories written for the screen are directed and performed delicately, and slowly  reminds the very mind of ours that we are all connected; our connections to others are far more, not only precious, but essential as well.

Besides the film’s sheer beauty, breathtaking special effects, score, performances, costumes, locations, cinematography and its essential message, it is, in my opinion, will be still an arduous process for some to sit and view as films like Cloud Atlas goes far more deeper than just a story. This is the definition of age, time and how man from the beginning of time lived, experienced life in the universe; it rejects the existence of heaven and hell. Therefore, it demands its own audience. We, at times, sit and claim that the contemporary cinema lacks aspiration, desire, originality and imagination, for we at times, forget that cinema still lives in the hearts of artists. Yes, the 500 pages of David Mitchell’s novel are not written to be filmed, as Mr. Mitchell himself stated. But, The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer proves that in life nothing is impossible, and most importantly this daring deed of theirs has proven to us all that cinema and art, no matter what you think of them, has the audacity to challenge our opinions, hearts, feelings, minds, tolerance and our faith.

Cloud Atlas is a wise film, for it is wisely written and directed. Challenging from its opening scene, indeed and I can tell you that it is going to take that mind of yours and test its tolerance. For some the length of this gorgeous, enthralling and epic film might be a process of enduring tedium, while for some, and I am sure about this, Cloud Atlas is entertaining and fun. Not even one minute or second of this ambitious film bored me. It is about working out the logical connections between the six stories, the characters in them, and their goals. Cloud Atlas is not only, in my opinion, important for its message or its mind-blowing special effects, performances and directing, it is because films like Cloud Atlas scares the daylights out of studios. It is artists who dares to take risk, not the big named studios. As a viewer, keep in mind, that Cloud Atlas is independently financed; this $102 million project is one of the most daring films of this year, or perhaps a daring film of every year.

It is a work of wonder as here, we are talking about, not only film-making and writing at its best, we are talking about the make-up, score, effects, locations, costumes, attention to detail. It is cinema, in my opinion, at its best. Oh, what man can achieve and what daring artists can bring, from the heart makes me to think, and challenges me as a writer, as I look down with a mind full of thoughts and eyes warm as they are in the verge of tears. Cinema will forever live, because of films like Cloud Atlas.