Ok, how do you explain a film that has the same say six characters with extras in each scene recurring many times in the film, in multiple stories that are all happening in multiple layers of time and all concluding at the same time on screen however in various stages of what we call time? Not like the above I guess! Read on to discover the multiple layers of what is a truly remarkable, and by far, the most thought provoking film you will see this the year or any other year for that matter…
The main characters are Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant and Hugo Weaving and the plots deal with the subject matter of what I believe to be reincarnation, or past lives. There was a group in the last decade that featured the now famous recording artist in his own right, Pharrell Williams, however, in the noughties he was from the Production Company called The Neptune’s and his musical group that he played with was called N.E.R.D (aka No one Really Truly Dies) which is another concept that this film explores.
Cloud Atlas also explores the logic that even though you think you live in isolation, you and your actions have impact on others now, then, and before because the concept of time is irrelevant (again these are my own thoughts). I think if I tried to explain each plot featured in Cloud Atlas I would really just be demonstrating an exercise in the power of my memory, however, the film made me think about what the Coronation Street actor Bill Roach (Ken Barlow) recently had a lot to say about victims of pedophilia, stating that it was a "past" life action that affected their current life.
He has subsequently apologised for offending, however he hasn't apologised for saying his long held thoughts. Do also be aware that Ken is a practising witch and would have communication with the spirit world. I mentioned the above, to explain that the logic of the film is best understood by those who are into certain religions, both light and dark; however, it is not understood by those who are atheists, scientifically minded or those who believe that "we are totally the only evolved life force in like everywhere!”
My personal belief is in an afterlife, but not an after life (after death there is eternity for all, based on what we did with our beliefs or not will determine whether it will be happy or sad but, I digress). Here is a bit about the people behind the film; The Directors of this amazing film are Tom Tykwer (The International) and Andy and Lana Wachowsky (They were called The Wachowsky Brothers when they did The Matrix however neither has spoken about a possible sex change by Lana).
"The Wachowskis" Lana Wachowski, formerly Laurence Wachowski (known as "Larry"), was born in Chicago in 1965; Andy Wachowski was born in 1967. Their mother, Lynne, was a nurse and painter whose brother is actor Laurence Luckinbill. Their father, Ron Wachowski, was a businessman of Polish descent. Raised by a "hardcore atheist" father and an "ex-Catholic turned Shamanist" mother, they have once described their religious beliefs as non-denominational.
According to actor Bernard White, Lana once told him that while they were raised Catholic; she was influenced heavily by the sacred Hindu texts like the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana (so now you know a bit about the peeps behind the film), Andy and Laurence Wachowski.
The film is based on the 2004 Novel by David Mitchell which was nominated for a Man Booker Prize. Mitchell stammers and having watched The Kings Speech stated that it accurately portrays the affliction.
Another interesting point is that Mitchell has spent time living in his Native England and Ireland, but has spent time living in Japan with his Japanese wife and this may have influenced the writing of his Novel because some of the characters in the film have South Asian features. As I stated before, the main characters were four people playing multiple roles (which really worked).
Immediately, after the film's release, the advocacy group Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) criticized the film for the use of what is sometimes labelled 'yellow face' makeup to allow non-Asian actors to portray certain Asian characters in the neo-Soul sequences. The above is not a new complaint, I remember there were issues raised when Fu Manchu was played by the late Peter Ustinov or Caucasian actors playing Shakespeare's Hamlet (which is an African character).
However, because the themes hints about past lives/reincarnation I believe the directors felt that the main characters should play multi-ethnic roles. The cost for this film is $100m, and was raised independently making it the most expensive independently funded film of all time. Is this film worth watching? Well I'll say this. I went to see Django Unchained @DerbyQUAD two months ago and that was 2h: 50m long. This is comparable in length and quality. This is a masterpiece, do go and watch this film with an open mind and understanding...