And then there is Cloud Atlas.
What? Don’t like that I kind of just started this review mid thought? Well get used to it, if you want to watch Cloud Atlas. Featuring an all star cast, this movie takes place over time and space, to tell a simple message.
And by simple message, I mean you might have to see this movie multiple times.
Just like they might have to give actors multiple roles. For symbolism!
You might be wondering, “Hey, Gorgon Reviews. What the fuck is going on in this movie? It looks confusing! Do I have to think during my movie time? Is it really 3 hours if you include previews? Fuck that noise.”
Well first off, I don’t know what that last part means.
But hey, I can explain the structure. There are six different settings that the story takes place in. South Pacific, 1869, a lawyer goes to settle a transaction (slavery!), but finds himself extremely sick on the way back home. He befriends a stowaway slave, and must fight the poison.
England, 1936, a young gay musician travels to work for an old and dying composer, becoming an apprentice and making his own work entitled Cloud Atlas.
San Francisco, 1973, a crime story involving a young reporter getting a big scoop that things may not be on the up and up at a new nuclear power plant.
London, 2012, no Olympics. The story of an older publisher who gets into some crime trouble, then forced to live in a retirement home where there is no escape. Yes, this is the more comedic storyline.
Neo Seoul, 2144, a story of a clone who escaped her job and learned to develop feelings, knowledge, and become a god.
Hawaii, 106 years after “The Fall”, a goat herder, haunted by his past, has to work with a technologically superior human to figure out where they all came from.
Get all that? Those are rough descriptions of the eras, that have their stories interweaved throughout the movie, sometime simultaneously. If for some reason you didn’t know yet, all of the characters play multiple roles, some of the bigger ones being Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent, Jim Stugess, Ben Whishaw, and Doona Bae.
Hell, just to confuse you more, some actors play the same character, just in different times of their life. I’m looking at you James D’Arcy. There are other big names as well, with lesser roles, such as Keith David, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, Xun Zhou, and Hugh Grant. I was personally confused by Mr. Grant, as I only noticed one of his roles when I first saw it, and had my brain convince me that Hugo Weaving was doing a REALLY GOOD Hugh Grant impersonation.
Dude. Bro. The Future Bro. Dude.
Like all crazy movies, this one is not without controversy. Namely the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, because yes, some of the white actors were asian characters in Seoul. They complained of eye make up, and that they should have just found some nice asian actors for the role. You know, making one part of the movie completely different from the others because of people playing one role. But because they didn’t care about Doona Bae wearing white ginger make up, or Halle Berry as a white woman, I am calling their complaints racist and turning the table on them. Get out of her guys.
I actually did make a flow chart on my board, mostly as a joke. I’d suggest only looking at it, here, if you have seen it to avoid any spoilers.
The best way to describe this movie is Intense. There is so much going on, so much kind of connected, and so much feeling. When you are done with it, you are left only with feelings. Unfortunately the plot isn’t perfect, there were things I am still confused on today. I could read the book, but ehhh. There are a lot of themes, most of them relatable, but mostly I think it is about the emotions.
Cloud Atlas is going to be a movie that requires multiple viewings to get the full effect out of it, and I am glad The Wachowski Siblings made it, if only for the large mammal sized balls they must possess.