Monday, November 26, 2018

Cloud Atlas (2012)

Number Rolled: 9
Movie Name/Year: Cloud Atlas (2012)
Tagline: Everything is connected.
Genre: Action, Drama, Mystery
Length: 171 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Cloud Atlas Productions, X-Filme Creative Pool, Anarchos Pictures, A Company Filmproduktionsgesellschaft, ARD Degeto Film, Ascension Pictures, Dreams of Dragon Picture, Five Drops, Media Asia Group
Producer: Stefan Arndt, Alex Boden, David Brown, John Chong, José Luis Escolar, Peter Grossman, Grant Hill, Lora Kennedy, Caroline Kwauk, Peter Lam, Philip Lee, Marcus Loges, Roberto Malerba, Ulli Neumann, Gigi Oeri, Wilson Qiu, Alexander Rodnyansky, Uwe Schott, Pearry Reginald Teo, Tony Teo, Ricky Tse, Tom Tykwer, Alexander van Dülmen, Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Director: Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Writer: David Mitchell, Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Chris Lindsay
Actors: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, James D’Arcy, Xun Zhou, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Robert Fyfe, Martin Wuttke, Robin Morrissey, Brody Nicholas Lee, Amanda Walker, Ralph Riach, Andrew Havill, Tanja de Wendt, Raevan Lee Hanan, Zhu Zhu

Blurb from Netflix: In this star-studded drama, six seemingly disparate stories explore the complicated links that humanity shares through the generations.

Selina’s Point of View:
I have a bit of a strange outlook on Cloud Atlas.

I spent the majority of the film confused. Unlike other films that explore how lives intersect, this one didn’t just casually roll through the stories with a basic framing device in place. It shot me from one to the other and back again so quickly that I felt a little like I had mental whiplash. There were times when people from one story were voicing over a whole other story. There were transitions that gave no time for me to take a breath – let alone figure out where it belonged in the timeline.

When I say the majority of the film, I mean something along the lines of 90% of it. Maybe higher. It was disorienting and dizzying, but I’ll be damned if those three hours didn’t fly right by.

I pretty much hated the method of storytelling in Cloud Atlas, but it worked. In the end, I found that I really enjoyed the entirety of the movie – not just because I liked the message either. Though I believe righteous rebellion is always a good lesson to learn.

Although I wouldn’t tolerate the disjointed time and story-skipping in most films, I feel there was no other way to make this one.

Due to the fact that Cloud Atlas dealt with reincarnation, I believe the story was told in the choppy way I mentioned because we were meant to have that mental whiplash. I think we were supposed to feel like we were looking at a story that was ultimately about eternity. It wasn’t supposed to be easy to grasp. Every transition and abnormal voice was meant to keep us disoriented and struggling with a sense of clueless déjà vu.

I’m well aware that a lot of critics, and audience, weren’t fond of Cloud Atlas and I get it. It was definitely not an easy film to watch. No one is coming home from work at ten o’clock at night and turning this movie on for some light watching. Not a chance. It requires too much attention, too much brain power. On top of that, it’s LONG.

I’ve never understood bad ratings for a film I’ve enjoyed quite so much as I do here.

What it comes down to is that not everyone is going to like Cloud Atlas. I don’t recommend you sit down and watch it unless you have the time and energy to do so. It’s not a background-noise kind of film.

However, if you do feel like challenging yourself, keep this movie in mind.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’m having a hard time finding the words to describe my take on this movie.

That’s not automatically a bad thing, though.

Cloud Atlas has been on my to-watch list since it was first released. This wasn’t my first time attempting to watch it, however – this was just the first time I was able to get all the way through successfully. I don’t feel that it was entirely the movie’s fault. It was mostly a bit of narcolepsy. Chronic fatigue can be a pain that way. I digress.

The beginning of the film is a bit slow to make sense, though, and that could have been a large contributing factor. I think I made it through this time out of sheer stubbornness.

I spent a good deal of this movie experiencing an odd mix of curiosity and confusion. Sometimes there was a clear rhyme and reason to the focus shifts between characters and timeline; but other times, it just felt a bit frenetic. 

All in all, I did end up investing in the characters and finding some thread of cohesion to the tales. When it was all said and done, though, I’m afraid I was still left wanting more.

The speech patterns in the future-tribal segments remind me a bit of the ‘grounder’ language in CW’s The 100 (2014-). In spite of the quasi-familiarity, it did make those segments significantly harder to understand for me.

In fairness to the movie, I do plan to give it another watch-through in the near future when I am not experiencing the side-effects of a hectic holiday. Headaches and trying to understand strange future-speak apparently don’t mix well.

Part of what drew me in from the beginning, beyond the tale of love that transcends death and time, was the cast. I’d watch just about anything with Tom Hanks (Saving Mr. Banks, Bridge of Spies, The Post) in it. He could make reading the dictionary interesting for me – though, this time, I should have used subtitles.

I don’t think I would go out of my way to steer anyone from this film, but I don’t think it’d be high on my list of recommendations.

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 66%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 66%
Metascore - 55/100
Metacritic User Score – 8.3/10
IMDB Score – 7.5/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating4/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3/5

Movie Trailer:

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