Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cloud Atlas

Plot: There are six interlacing stories with the same actors in different places and times. There are a slave and a lawyer crossing the Atlantic while the lawyer is being poisoned. Another is a rebellion in a future Asian city called Neo Seoul. Another is a modern woman visiting a primitive island people. Another is a group of senior citizens trying to break out of a sanatarium.  Another is an investigative reporter trying to shut down a nuclear powerplant that has safety defects.

There are too many characters to name all of them. Check out the  [imdb]  link. As the story progresses through time, there is a theme of interconnectedness and Karma.   [photos]

Review: Here is an art movie that I loved. Lots of interesting characters and lots of interesting stories. It takes a while to understand what is going on, but before long you recognize the theme of people working together and also against each other.

If you like straightline plot progression you should absolutely stay home, but once you get the idea that it is one story about interconnectness playing out across history, it gets better.  I thought it worked, and the ambition of the project and quality of the execution and the depth of the characters made this a top film.

My favorite sequences were the two future plot lines in NeoSeoul and a the primitive island (post-apocalyptic  Hawaii.)  I really liked the Sci-Fi action that invoked Blade Runner and Soylent Green. The NeoSeoul scenes easily have the coolest graphics. I liked the whole idea of a slave race of clones that never gets to go outside, and the battle against "Unanimity" -- the government ideology.

Lots of people die in this movie, and it is tough when some of the likeable characters die badly. On the other hand, these actors show up in other stories in future. So we get the message how the story continues even though the people die.

The interconnectedness philosophy is not very complicated.  They needed to make the message obvious so that literal-minded viewers could figure out what was happening. There are probably other layers of the onion to see on the second viewing. Even though I thought it was obvious, it was clear after the movie that many in the audience didn't get it.

I enjoy movies that have a message, and this was good in that it was fun and it was thoughtful. 

Cast: Tom Hanks (6 characters), Halle Berry (6 characters), Jim Broadbent (5 characters), Hugo Weaving (6 characters), Jim Sturgess (7 characters), and Doona Bae (6 characters), Hugh Grant (7 characters), and Susan Sarandon (4 characters)

Written and directed by: Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, and Andy Wachowski based on the novel by David Mitchell

Rating: 4.0 stars - fun to watch and serious both. Top Hollywood entertainment. I want to see it again. 
More: I knew Wachowski brothers were brothers and so I wondered if Lana was another member of the family. Lana was formerly known as Laurence Wachowski.

Even More: I loved the pidgin that the island people spoke. You could understand it, and you couldn't. Here is a link to the pidgen used on Big I, the primitive island that the book tells us is Hawaii in the future.

Yet More: In an election year -- people will suspect it is pro-Obama -- because of the theme of caring for each other, and the anti-business aspects of the power company and NeoSeoul plot lines.