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Cloud Atlas – Review

It is not easy writing fantasy novels and it is certainly not easy writing six different stories interwoven into one. If you are familiar with David Mitchell’s 2004 science-fiction novel, Cloud Atlas, then you need no introduction its screen adaptation by Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski and Tom Tyker. Novels Adapted to film always face strong criticism from purists because there is always some part left out on film. But when a book is in the hands of the makers of the makers of The Martix and Run Lola Run,  you know it is going to be one hell of a rollercoaster.

There is no point in explaining the plot because I am sure it will suck all the fun out of the movie. And adding to that, the plot will make no sense to a reader, because even repeated viewings to try and discover the logic will end up in failure. If you aren’t familiar with the book, then be ready to witness some genre changing, mind-bending and unconventionally narrated sequences. This is pure-bred Hollywood entertainment and you will not remember the last time you were this confused while watching a movie.

If you still want a taste of the story before you watch it, then here it goes: An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution. More complex than a quantum physics law? This story switches seamlessly between various periods right from the 1840′s to a post-apocalyptic 2346. The film is technically very rich and that includes makeup too. The makeup which I don’t mind mentioning again is so good that at one point I was not sure if I was looking at Tom Hanks or Halle Berry!

This is not your average reincarnation cinema with similar stories in the past and the present, no..no.. this is something so complex that I am pretty sure you will need a second-viewing to make more sense of the plot. Apart from the excellent screenplay by Lana, Andy and Tom, visual design by John Toll is innovative and just blows you away. Thanks to the brutal editing by Alexander Berner, you will not have time even to stretch yourself for a second.

Like the films of David Lynch and Warner Herzog, there is more to the film than what meets the eye. Each of the 6 stories in the past, present and the future is just a refashioning every other story. This has been done so brilliantly with so much attention to detail that even a tiny birthmark can change so many things.

I might have to give you a heads-up with the ending because for a movie with such fast pace, the climax is a low-key affair that falls way below expectations created by the earlier build-up. No big, thumping action packed ending this time.

But nonetheless, Cloud Atlas is one of the most compelling movies out there now. Oscar Contender? I don’t know. But what I do know it is one of the most important films of the year, full of passion and heart that it cannot be compared with any modern film in its range.

Verdict: 4/5


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