July 4, 2013
With the release of this unbelievably good film last Monday, I felt the need to re-review it since I originally chickened out of giving it the full love it deserves. Make no mistake, this is a phenomenal film!
Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell’s best selling novel, has come bursting onto screens from the pages from which it originated with astonishing results. If ever there was an argument for collaborative direction, this is it. From the people behind The Matrix trilogy and the director of Run Lola Run comes one of the most enthralling films of the year. Set across a series of worlds and eras, it shows how lives can be weaved together, and builds on Mitchell’s original Russian doll format. The film makes use of its visual ability and tells the stories in a way that isn’t possible in the book, by weaving in and out of the six stories and drawing on running themes to make them fit together seamlessly.
It’s cleverly put together and the dialogue over each segment, whilst making it feel a little like you’re watching the trailer on repeat, ties it all neatly together each time. It’s necessary to change the way the story is told within the film and they couldn’t have done a better job. This is a masterclass in adaptations. With phrases that are used throughout the separate stories and themes within the score that crop up to tie lives together, it’s a beautifully put together film. The differing styles of the directors work well together when edited within each other, and for those unsure of who directed what, they are separated into segments in the credits. It’s quite obvious, and whilst it would be natural to be dubious of the two styles mixing but there’s nothing to fear here.
Speaking of the score, it’s worth having a listen before viewing the film. As a standalone series of pieces it is wonderful, but add in the visuals and it becomes something entirely different. The three composers have done a fabulous job. They have taken into consideration the eclectic mix of characters and tones of the stories to create something that clearly represents each one but ultimately comes together in a beautiful way at the end. It weaves its way through the film in much the same way as the phrases, characters and themes. If you need another reason to sit through the credits other than the character reveal, stay for the final strains of the score.
Cloud Atlas is an astonishing film and an incredible achievement for the cast and crew. David Mitchell should be thrilled with the interpretation of his book. With a novel as complicated as this, it seemed to be every screenwriter’s nightmare, but the three minds behind the script with the editors and directors have come up with something magical. With the mix of the score, engaging characters and the visuals, this an engrossing and compelling watch and an absolute masterpiece. Not a film to miss!
ALL THE STARS