Actor Sean Penn once said that “When everything gets answered, it’s fake.” This idea is applicable to most films produced in Hollywood in the last decades. However, every so often, a rare film like Cloud Atlas comes along and dares to challenge your intellect whilst providing you with a dream-like experience.
Based on David Mitchell’s 2004 best-selling novel, Cloud Atlas directed by The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer is a transcending and philosophical tale which primarily revolves around six different lives from different periods in time and how they are all connected through each individual action. Sound complicated? It is. However if you seriously invest yourself and concentrate in the film, you are guaranteed one hell of an experience.
The all-star cast including Tom Hanks, Jim Broadbent, Halle Berry, Ben Whishaw, Jim Sturgess, Hugh Grant and Hugo Weaving are all on the top of their game as they each take on multiple roles, some heroic, some villainous. Hanks, Whishaw and Grant are particular standouts with Grant being cast against type as a leader of cannibals in the post-apocalyptic period and as an unsympathetic slave owner in the 19th Century. The film also features stunning cinematography and a triumphant musical score, which help enhance the experience. However, the film’s greatest strength lies in the editing by Alexander Berner and Claus Wehlish, who successfully manage to cut between different periods and stories whilst still maintaining an emotional connection to the different characters.
However, the film does feature one minor flaw through the controversial “yellow-face” make-up , which at times can be a bit of a distraction. However, it is most likely that you will find yourself so immersed in the story and the themes, that you may not even notice.
Cloud Atlas is an extraordinary and highly ambitious piece of cinema which uses a strong visual style, as well as wonderful performances from the all-star cast, to create a metaphorical, philosophical and moving cinematic experience.