(Ok, first of all let me just say something. I’m not a professional critic or anything, I write my “reviews” based on what I personally feel about what I see. I try to use the correct terms to describe things, but I don’t like to sound – or be for that matter – like a snob. So when I don’t understand something, I say I don’t understand it. So don’t take my opinion as a “professional opinion”, I’m just kinda thinking out loud here, to help you and myself reflect about films. With this in mind, I shall proceed… )
Director: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachawski
Screenplay: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachawski
“Cloud Atlas” is a movie based on a novel by the same name by David Mitchel and I didn’t even know that, so obviously I didn’t read the book, just watched the film. And before I came here to write about it I decided to watch a few reviews on youtube, just to see if I was doing my job well, since it’s the first time I’m writing reviews (except the ones I did for school papers). I was happy to find people were saying the same things I was thinking moreover with such a complex movie. Just one thing was said that differed from what I interpreted.
First of all the name Cloud Atlas reminded me of the world map, so I went to search and see what was a cloud atlas. It happens it has nothing to do with it, it’s the designation people created to the different types of clouds, most useful to meteorologists, something like that. The movie revolves on our different lives, in the past, present and future, on our souls and on how our every action is connected through time and influences everything. However, to me, there is a parallel story we can observe: the story of those who dare: dare to defy the rules, no matter how harsh they are, to follow their hearts and what they feel is the correct thing not only for them, but for everybody, and no one else has the guts to challenge. The world need this kind of people.
But let me contextualize you. The movie tells 6 different stories in 6 different times/eras. That’s how it begins, by showing us those times. Then, as it progresses, we accompany those stories with the scenes all mixed up. One time we are watching a scene in the 30’s then we jump to the year 2144 in a completely different scenario. The thing about the changing between the scenes is that we often begin one scene like we were following the previous one. Besides, the actors are always the same on all those different eras! But it doesn’t necessarily mean they are their own re-incarnation. You see, there are some characters who have a peculiar birth mark, and I noticed those are the bold characters, the ones who dare to change things and possibly sacrifice themselves for the rest of us. Having said that, I watched one review where it was said the ones who had the mark were always the same person – meaning, always the same soul just in different vessels, so to speak. I didn’t see it like that, I saw it as they were all connected in some way, through family bounds or something, but never though of them as the same soul. As I was watching the movie and realizing the ones who had the mark were always the defying ones, I though they just had that attitude, it was in their blood because they were somehow connected. (I don’t know, I just saw the movie, have to see it more times to check if the same-soul-in-different-vessels makes sense to me.)
Although the main subject is re-incarnations and the outcomes of our actions, there are two phrases that struck my mind:
“…and so to know thyself is only possible through the eyes of the others”
“If I had remained invisible, the truth would stay hidden. I couldn’t allow that.”
The first one made much sense to me, because even today I still try to find myself and I think I always have certain doubts about myself. Sometimes I would like to see how other people would describe me, but would that be me? Or just the notion others have about me? I am me, I know me. But you know what they say: we have a better understanding when we see the big picture, and one cannot see the big picture of oneself being so close. Anyway, that’s on a personal level. In the story context, Sonmi, the asian looking girl who’s speaking there, is talking about her own story, which is the story of millions just like her.
They were, well, basically slaves, and didn’t even know the world beyond their workplace. At one point she is saved and shown how the business really is – a shocking reality. So basically, she does what’s in that little youtube video I posted.
As for the second thing, it’s related what I just said. She decides to sacrifice herself for her “sisters”, she made that choice, knowing she would die. And bravery and honor are things that really amazes me. In a time like ours, where (I think) more and more people realize how manipulative our “civilized” system is, how many secrets it hides, how many schemes it uses to control us all and how we seem not to be able to do something about it, a person having the balls to step forward and say “No! I won’t tolerate this no more. I’m ready to die for my fellow human beings!” is something truly commendable. Pity human kind has reached this point… I hope one day we can all see beyond our own selfishness and be corrupted no more.
I could continue talking about that subject, a lot!, but I’ve decided to keep this blog strictly about movies/doc and their reviews. I can make this type of personal comments, but I’ll try not to elongate the matter… So let’s move forward.
What can I say more about “Cloud Atlas”? It’s a very long movie and very complex to watch, one really must pay attention. I have seen better physical characterizations, but I don’t really care about it that much, I’m more focused on the story itself. I’m saying that because I didn’t like to see Hugh Grant as an old man. But James d’Arcy was kinda cute. Or maybe it’s because of their psychological characterization: D’Arcy plays an adorable guy with a lovely and tragic love story, and Grant plays a grumpy old man who’s sick of helping his crazed brother with financial support, throwing him in a nursing home (that and for having had an affair with his wife!). Meh… I didn’t really like D’Arcy’s face in 2144 era… It was odd, but it was a futuristic scenario so… I guessed people would indeed look a little different. Well, I’m just talking about this characterization thing cause I saw people talking about it too. I don’t want to be influenced by other’s opinions, so I wasn’t sure if I would do a research on other reviews or just retain my research about the film itself. As I said, as it is so complex I decided to see what others have to say about it, and I wasn’t even gonna talk about characterization… Oh well, at least I know I’m writing well on my reviews.
As I was saying previously, in these six different times, actors are always the same, just in different roles, even different genders! But I only realized that in the credits, they show us all the roles of each one! I like when in movies I can see which person is the bad guy before it is known. That’s when you spot a good actor (and a good director btw). The eyes, the body language, it says it all! In this case, try to see where Tom Hanks plays the bad guy! It’s not where you first think it is! Damn, that laugh is creepy!…
So, that’s pretty much all I have to say about this movie here. I thought it was an awesome movie that depicted unconventional heroes, involved our never-ending journey in this universe and our actions and their consequences to the world around us, present and future, but a bit complex to understand and watch. (Once again, as I’m writing I come to conclusions I wasn’t able to if I only saw it and moved on, so this has been a cool exercise for me to do! And I now know it was made from a book, so eventually I’ll have to read it.) The scenes were all connected in some way, either by the characters or by the situation (our lives eventually cross and our actions are reverberated), which I found pretty nice. I don’t really care about the physical characterization when that’s not the main point, as long as I understand the whole movie, and this was one of those cases. My favorite era to watch was 2144 because we can relate to it despite the advanced technology depicted on the movie (we’re almost there). And that’s it! How about you?
(ps: I know it’s already September 28 and so no post was made yesterday, but its 2 am and for me it’s still september 27, so this was my daily review for September 27!)