Monday, October 29, 2012

The Wachowskis/Tykwer CLOUD ATLAS: Ignore critics, go see it, watch, listen, wait

We were never for a moment bored during the first half of the eight-minutes-short-of-three-hours  CLOUD ATLAS. The half-dozen stories, together with the dozen actors who, among them, play maybe 40 to 50 roles, are simply too interesting, bizarre, colorful and compelling not to keep us riveted to the screen. Yet I admit to being somewhat flummoxed as to "what this all means." I did not read the novel upon which the film is based, and I am told it is much better than its film (when is this not true?), yet the film is plenty good enough. It's great, maybe: challenging but not impossibly so, and when its meaning slowly comes together in the second half, possessing a payoff that is profound and moving.

If TrustMovies were to pick three filmmakers to collaborate on a project such as this, it would not have been Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer (the three are shown above with Lana, center, and Tom at right).  Yet so well have the three worked together to produce something seamless that I am most impressed. What they (and their work) have in common is a striving for something better, not always achieved. Their reach exceeds their grasp, even here to an extent, but it is, as they say, close enough for jazz.

What you, as an audience, need to do, I believe, as I suggest in my headline above is to simply go see the film, settle in for that three-hour period, open up, look, listen and wait.  The movie, and its meaning, will arrive. And as it does, you'll be treated to a batch of good actors and a battery of star power -- from Tom Hanks and Halle Berry (above) to Jim Broadbent and Ben Whishaw (below, left and right, respectively).

Also on board are Jim Sturgess (below, right), Doona Bae (below, left) and Hugo Weaving (shown at bottom). Don't waste time and effort distracting yourself from the stories and themes by trying to identify the actors. Just follow and process. The rewards are great.

Along the way, you'll also be treated to some splendid visuals -- from the beautifully exotic (above) to the special-effects worthy below. (The time frames here are past, present and future.) As quickly as things move, you'll still have time to consider ideas like slavery and fascism, freedom and creativity, need vs greed, and a lot more.

Cloud Atlas has opened wide and reportedly flopped at the box-office over its first weekend. No matter. Real movie-lovers will seek it out, probably more than once. I'll watch it again, too, but not until it appears on Blu-ray, with subtitles, so that I can pick up some of the "odd dialect" dialog between Hanks and Berry that I missed the first time around.

This movie, from Warner Brothers, has and will continue to divide audiences. But its very jumping around and ability to condense and combine themes and time frames gives it a light touch that enables it to render something like slavery with more meaning and art than did Spielberg with his Amistad. So consider this one a must-see. Click here, then click on TICKETS AND SHOWTIMES, to learn where it's playing near you.

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