Cloud Atlas was made by the same team who brought us the Matrix movies. That should be a suitable enough introduction.
The story, actually many stories are the tale of several people connected across space and time. It is a movie which demands several viewings, as the plots twist and weave in and out of each other like colored swirls intersecting and moving among each other. For one visually attuned in their thought the imagery is beyond description.
Cloud Atlas is set in several times and places. First is in a small Pacific Island in the mid-nineteenth century, then fast forward to 1931 in Belgium, then to 1973 in the US, and to the present day. The next story takes place in 2112 in a future Seoul, and finally in post-apocalyptic Hawaii, year 2321.
There are two phrases that define Cloud Atlas very well. These are the point and counter points of hope, despair, love and hate.
First is the voice given to those who oppress, who want to make corruption and darkness their way of the world: "There is a natural order to this world, and those who try to upend it do not fare well." Echoed several times, this message is that things are best left as they are, that the forces of change are an enemy to be dreaded, feared and avoided at all costs. It rails against our better angels and insists that the individual has no place, or right to change the world.
On the other side, there is the theme: “Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” This is the voice of the reformer, the person who defies great odds to bring about change, and a better world.
The film has a strong theme of reincarnation, as each successive bead on the thread is identified by a unique birthmark, a comet. What makes this interpretation unusual is that the awareness moves across lives, not only forward, but backwards across time and space. This hints at something much more complex going on. It speaks of relationships existing not only across space and time, but through them, as if each exists in a tapestry of nowness.
Where things get difficult is in the sudden switches between plots. In some instances two or three of the stories can appear, not necessarily in sequence over the space of just a few seconds. Those bridges, rather than breaking the story up, tend to show how each character and situation ties with the others. Sometimes it really can be overwhelming.
The casting is also a tour de force in creativity. The leads, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Hugh Grant have roles in all six stories, and many of the other characters play in four or five. Several actors move across genders (quite believably) and in both directions. Of course one should expect the unexpected here. Cloud Atlas is directed by the Wachowskis (The Matrix) and Tom Tykwer. The changes in time and place are unexpected, and the way these are used in the plot are quite breathtaking. For first time viewers, try not to focus too much on detail and keep to the big picture. When you come back the second time, as I’m sure you will, you will start to see things in ways that are simply eye-popping.
Cloud Atlas is a feast for the senses, for the mind and the emotions. It leaves you feeling that no matter how long the odds, how bleak the prospects that each and everyone of us has the capacity to make a difference. It all comes down to the question of how empowered do we feel. For those who place themselves as victims of circumstance perhaps there is a natural order to things. For most of us here it is worthwhile to hope that we are bound to each others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.
As a note for those who may think about taking the kids or grandkids there are a few sexual situations, so act in accordance with your own best judgment.
Hmmm , will watch it , if and when when it comes through , seems more of a dream state type of movie . Thanks for the write up Joe.I love imagery .
The movie "Cloud Atlas" is most incredible movie I have seen for very long time. You are probably know that I have been doing 12 years of research and has personal experiences, to connect my own roots of reincarnation. I found out who I was in previous 5 lives and how each one of my descendants are connected with me as individuals in my present life. "Cloud Atlas" very well presented and explained about these connections and more. I do recommend see this movie and believe that everyone should do the research to find their own roots of the past lives and its connection to the present and possibly the key to our future.
Thank you. Blessings and Peace.
Wow! Great review! Can't wait to see this. Mulitiple times!
Now I am reading the book. Novel by David Mitchell "Cloud Atlas" Luckily a friend from Russia sent me a translated version. The book required even more concentration than movie. But it is great!