|The Wachowskis and Tykwer deliver.|
Directed by Andy & Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer
Produced by Stefan Arndt, Grant Hill, Tom Tykwer, and Andy & Lana Wachowski
Written by Andy & Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer (screenplay); David Mitchell (novel)
Starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D'Arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant
This might just be the cinematic event of the year. As another divisive film from 2012, the story alone is likely to turn many away, if not the running time. It is incredibly difficult to summarize in a few sentences, but here's an extremely basic rundown of the six storylines in the film. One focuses on a sick lawyer (Sturgess) recovering on a ship, and another looks at a young composer (Whishaw) in a homosexual relationship. Meanwhile, a journalist (Berry) uncovers a conspiracy, and a publisher (Broadbent) is imprisoned in a nursing home. In addition, a clone (Bae) rebels against the government, and a tribal member (Hanks) must deal with the downfall of his homeland. All of these intercut tales occur in different times and places, forming the massive film that is Cloud Atlas. (Thanks to IMDb for helping me make brief sense of these multiple storylines.)
Helmed by three directors, this epic is ambitious, exhilarating, and preposterous, yet it still resonates. It seamlessly switches from action to sci-fi to fantasy to thriller to drama, without wasting its bloated running time. Though the film is almost three hours long, it never slows down, as the story keeps building and building until the film's fitting conclusion. Still, some may criticize the film's numerous shifts, which can be jarring at first. Also, the film could be seen as a clear attempt to show that we really are, all of us, connected across time and space. The film doesn't shy away from this theme, and I, nevertheless, found it captivating. At times, it can be overindulgent and blatantly obvious, but, ultimately, it was an uplifting, strange cinematic experience that I am eager to have again. In the midst of all that's going on in the film, the cast deserve praise for fully committing to the material. Of course, the technical aspects of the film are excellent, and the score is quite wonderful as well. Essentially, it's a blockbuster with ideas, which is most welcome. This might not be an awards movie, but it's one of the best I've seen this year.
Oscar Potential: Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects