Turning the Spotlight on...Cloud Atlas

Ronald Epstein

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"Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we arebound to others. Past and present. And by each crime, andevery kindness, we birth our future."Talking about Cloud Atlas is somewhat difficult. I have justcompleted my second viewing of the film and I don't think Ihave any more complete of an understanding of it than I didafter the first. Quite frankly, I don't think this is the kind of filmone is meant to master.Cloud Atlas tells six different stories that take place acrossseveral centuries. At any given time, the viewer is thrown froma 19th century tale at sea, into a futuristic Seoul circa 2144, backto 1970s San Francisco and so on. The idea behind these storiesis that they are somehow all connected by an individual's courseof action, a letter, book, or perhaps a piece of music. For me, uponthe second viewing of the film, I saw a connection of "feeling" fromone segment to the other which gave the film entirely new meaningto me.An ensemble of notable actors including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry,Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess and Hugh Grant (toname a few) take on multiple roles beneath mounds of makeup thatoften look more laughable than believable. Nonetheless, there areso many different actor transitions happening throughout the film thatit's sort of challenging to keep on top of it all and I must admit, I didn'treadily recognize everyone behind the makeup.Warner has done an exceptional job with the Blu-ray transfer whichdoes justice to the film's amazing cinematography. It's such a pleasureto watch the level of detail in the picture with colors that are well balancedthroughout. Cloud Atlas is a visually breathtaking film, and I am sothankful that none of the detail is lost. Although the DTS-HD Master Audiosoundtrack isn't as aggressive as most, it's effective enough to envelopethe viewer with a myriad of ambient effects as it moves across multiplestorylines.There are a few featurettes included here, one of which I readilyrecommend, entitled Everything Is Connected. Lana and AndyWachowski give perhaps the best overview I have seen as to howthe stories and people in the film connect to each other. It may not bethe holy grail of answers you are looking for, but it certainly helped mebetter understand the common threads.One needs to really give an immense amount of credit to the three directors(Andy and Lana Wachowksi; Tom Tykwer) who risked doing the impossibleand somehow managed to pull off a film that is quite brilliant, if not totally coherent.Running nearly three hours, it's quite a commitment to make, but I would highlyrecommend that everyone give this film the effort. Some may hate it, but Ithink most may very well agree that this is a masterpiece.Look forward to hearing your views after giving it a watch.
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Steve Tannehill

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I went into this movie having read the book, and I wondered how they could possibly adapt it to film.


You could tell from the very beginning that the film was different than the book, but in a good way.

I've seen the movie three times now, and it still holds up.
 

TonyD

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I'm looking forward to seeing it.Going to us it blind.
 

Tino

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I'm also buying it blind. Watched the first ten minutes free on Xbox live and it looks great.
 

Cameron Yee

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I watched my review copy last night. I too am not exactly sure how to write about the film, but agree with Ron in terms of how to "not think" about it. That is, not look at the details as much as the shapes and patterns being formed, and pay attention to the mood or tone being evoked. It is impressive how six disparate stories have been so well integrated into each other and that the nearly three hour run time feels like half that.
 

Moe Dickstein

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I got the book after seeing the movie on a DVD screener and still need to read it. I didn't want to see it again until I could own the Blu and be ready for multiple views. This is going to be one of my top films of all time. I am a big fan of these modern/epic/multistory films, PT Anderson's Magnolia is my favorite of all time so this is up my alley.
 

Ronald Epstein

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You know when you have a movie stuck in your head?I keep thinking about this film, over and over again.The sequences that deal with a futuristic Seoul are the onesrepeating themselves over and over. There's something so moving about that story --- it's beautifully told --- and it also happens to be the most visually appealing aspect of the film. I am going to watch this movie for a third time very shortly.
 

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