Date Night Movie Review - Cloud Atlas
I want to start a new series where I share the movies Atala and I see at the cinema. We have very ecletic tastes and see all sorts. Sometimes we both love our selection, or one or the other of us just hate it. On cloud atlas, it was two thumbs up reviews from both Atala and I.
Atala - I first heard about Cloud Atlas from Myne, who herself had seen it in a blogger's "must watch" list. I was intrigued to hear that it dwelt on themes of the interconnectedness of lives across time, because I'm a big fan of movies that explore the deeper issues of life. In addition to this, it promised grand spectacle - something that Myne is very big on. So we made up our minds to watch it when it came out.
I have a favourite saying - happiness is the difference between what you experience and what you expect. Well, in this case, that saying was turned on its head, because what I experienced wasn't better or worse than what I expected - it was just simply different. Different in a good way.
The movie is made up of six different stories which occur at different times, ranging from the nineteenth century to some time far in the future. The stories are very different in style, but I found them all enjoyable in their own different ways. The two stories that I liked the best was one about a composer who faces a conflict because of his sexuality, and one about a 'replicant' - an artificial human being - who ends up setting off a rebellion, because they both explore the agonizing emotions that someone experiences when having to make hard choices.
One other thing I liked about the film was the way it continuously cut from one story to another; surprisingly, this worked very well for me, and it made me feel as if I was watching all six stories and enjoying the diversity of the spectacle, pace and drama all at the same time.
I didn't feel that the stories were that interconnected, though. The film does show characters in one story reading or observing another story that happened before that story, and it creates the impression that characters exist in different forms across time, but I felt that this was not done strongly enough to make it work. However, and it did not really make a difference to my final verdict on the film - I liked it very much, and I certainly think it was nearly three hours well spent.
So Atala has said how I discovered the movie and I really don't have much to add to his review. The movie was really mind blowing and I loved it. The main theme that stuck with me was the aspect of individual freedom but also community liberation. There was a point in one of the stories where one character told the other, "You'll be just a drop in the ocean". This other man was one who wanted to stop slave trading and join up with the abolitionists of 19th century America. His reply was "what is an ocean but an aggregation of drops"?
That was so deep for me and there were nuggets like that scattered all across the story strands. Beyond the themes in the stories though, was what a spectacle of story telling through film that Cloud Atlas was. I can't begin to describe it. This is where I say, you just have to see it yourself :)