Sunday, 6 July 2014
DVD REVIEW: CLOUD ATLAS (2012)
I actually bought the Blu-ray months ago but for some reason, possibly its length (172mins), possibly it's assumed complexity, I kept putting it off.
Okay, I was confused somewhat by it at first but it wasn't long before it clicked and I got it. It actually isn't that complicated it's just a matter of understanding the structure. There are six individual narratives presented in chronological order of the their internal events. These narratives are intercut with each other so that, while the stories are very different, each sheds light on and affects the others. The intercutting is one of the things that makes this film so amazing and if it didn't it should have got masses of awards for editing.
The acting is outstanding. Tom Hanks gets the best of it because he's in it most, or it seems like it, though it's very much an ensemble piece. He plays a vile seagoing rogue in the historical slavery sequence, a London gangster turned author in the present, a sleazy hotel owner, a primitive with a guilty secret living in the aftermath of worldwide collapse, and more. Hugo Weaving appears as a recurring villain most notably in the contemporary comedic sequence as the brutal (female!) nurse of an old peoples' home from which Jim Broadbent is trying to escape. We all know that Halle Berry is a good actress (still underrated in my opinion) and she delivers the goods as a crusading journalist in the early days of feminism (the 70's) in an almost Shaft-noir type thriller and in the farthest future setting as a woman from a dying but high tech society trying to contact extra-planet colonies; again, and more. And all that is just the tip of the iceberg.
A weakness is that it can too easy to be distracted by trying to work out who the actor is under layers of makeup -Hugh Grant playing a 70-something and a heavily tattooed and scarred future savage cannibal, for example, and in the latter case, I assume, for no reason other than it's a very good joke (though the two characters are not as dissimilar as it might appear).
Characters can play variations of their nature throughout their different lives and, for at least one, there is a final salvation.
The dialogue is literate which is no surprise coming from a complex literary modern novel as it does. The technical aspects and the photography are exemplary.
Am I stating the obvious when I say that I loved this film and intend to watch it again soon in the expectation that I'll enjoy it even more?
But it is a film which polarises people. For everyone who, like myself, find it bold and daring and a near-masterpiece there will be others who consider it boring and a case of the Emperor's new clothes -they're wrong of course- but give it a chance and find out for yourselves.
(I've come to the end of this review and I haven't mentioned directors Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, and Lana Wachowski who created this fascinating original film. Shame on me.)