Steen: Cloud Atlas makes you think

An odd name for a film…it actually refers to a sextet composed by the character Robert Frobisher and interpreted no less than six ways throughout the movie.

In this almost thre- hour show, adapted from David Mitchell’s novel written in 2004—which at the time was deemed to be unfilmable—we are shown that the end of life is just a doorway to another life and in each life and beyond, we are all eternally connected – past, present and future.

Brought to the screen by Tom Tykiver and the Wackowskies, this show also reveals (and this is a tad scary) that each crime and kindness births our own future. I for one, will begin immediately to be a kinder, gentler.

For the first half hour, the audience hasn’t a clue what’s going on or who the characters are. It’s very confusing but all (or almost all) is revealed in due course, and most of the storylines are well detailed and explained.

There is quite a cast in Cloud Atlas; Tom Hanks, plays a number of characters, as does Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Hugo Wearing (of Matrix fame), Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent (one of Britain’s most versatile character actors), and all show us the recurring theme that we eternally cross and re-cross our tracks like figure skaters, and from moon to tomb, our lives are not our own.  Heady stuff, thought provoking and not easily forgotten.

There were a few light moments with some funny lines and real laughs, such as the one said by the administrator at the home for the mentally ill: “You won’t believe what people will pay to lock up their parents.”  Well, I thought it was funny. Haven’t we all wanted to do that at one time?

If you’ve ever experienced déjà vu, felt an emotion (good or bad) towards someone you just met, asked yourself “is this all there is?” or read Eckhart Tolle, then go see Cloud Atlas.

Sure, it’s long and sometimes confusing, but it’s worth the time and for a day or two, we might be nicer to each other.

Some of you are nice all the time, and that’s wonderful, but for the rest of us, a couple of days is pretty much all we can handle).

rating: 4 reels

Susan Steen is a freelance movie reviewer in Kelowna.



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