Cloud Atlas should win the Academy Award for best picture this year, if it doesn’t, the Academy has obviously descended to the level of the general public, playing to the least common denominator. Before seeing this film I read a couple of reviews about the movie, the first called it an ambitious mess, the second sang its praises. Cloud Atlas is several stories that occur through time, there is a connection between the characters and the stories and these stories cross several hundred years of human history from the 18th to I believe the 25th century. The movie jumps straight into these stories and jumps between them for the entire almost three hours, there is a lot of dialogue and there is a lot of depth for a mainstream film. I have a feeling I will be thinking about the themes explored in this film for a very long time. And these elements in the end are why I lot of people will not like this film. The least common denominator is to produce linear stories with shallow story lines, sure most audiences can handle a twist or two and may even think that makes it a wonderful and complicated film. However, the same crowd that couldn’t follow what was happening in Inception, will get totally lost in Cloud Atlas.
The fact that these folks will get lost in this film not only doesn’t make it a bad film, it makes it a great film. A lot of the popular Oscar-winning films of recent years will soon be forgotten. Cloud Atlas, like Gone with the Wind, will be continued to be viewed for a very, very long time. This is the type of film that film classes will be created around. This was an incredibly ambitious film, it is visually spectacular, the performances are superb, I believe this was Halle Berry’s finest work. The make-up work in this film is really fun and the cast stretches from Tom Hanks, Berry, Susan Sarandon to Bae Doona a truly spectacularly beautiful Korean actress. The film stretches from soul-searching drama to edge of your seat action sequences, to Soylent Green jokes. Three hours went by very quickly, the mark of a film that has your attention.
Cloud Atlas is both a film that you should see on the big screen and that you will want to see multiple times. There are waves of tiny details woven throughout the film. I caught dozens, realized I missed at least a couple of more and I’m sure there are even more I didn’t catch. Don’t miss this film and given its level of complexity it will be leaving theaters soon.