Upcloud movies: The issue remains: Is the vast, interconnected, portmanteau fantasy-drama a breath of new air or an enormous failure? A skilled ensemble cast switches wigs, prosthetics, races, and even gender in various parts. Although there are some outstanding performances, it is clear why so many award-winning actors took on the assignment. However, no amount of makeup can hide the pretentious twaddle in the writing.
Cloud Atlas, which is based on David Mitchell’s novel of the same name, covers six stories in a range of genres spanning a time span of about 500 years, from 1850 to 2321. The house of cards threatens to fall over roughly every ten minutes, but as a technical exercise, it is a magnificent assemblage of six narratives and six sets of characters from six different Upcloud movies that are edited together with profanity, nudity, and some graphic violence.
The Wachowskis, together with arthouse filmmaker Tom Twyker, took on the “unfilmable” novel because they like to think of themselves as philosophers and visionaries. Nowadays, anything can be made into a movie, but does it make for a good one?
Here are three filmmakers with no shortage of ambition. The Wachowskis are most known for their pretentious, ponderous, yet artistically groundbreaking The Matrix trilogy. Tykwer is famed for Run Lola Run, a German kinetic art-house film with three variations and three endings of the same story.
The three modern tales were directed by Tykwer and included a 1973 conspiracy thriller, a senior comedy about a struggling publisher imprisoned in a retirement home, and a 1930s gay musician tied to a fading old composer.
The sad outcast and budding musical prodigy Frobisher, who composed the Cloud Atlas Sextet, performed throughout the film, is compellingly portrayed by Ben Wishaw (Skyfall). This passage is a dramatic set piece by Merchant Ivory. As the reporter from the 1970s who uncovered a conspiracy to melt down a nuclear reactor, Halle Berry is at her finest. CGI is used in The China Syndrome. Twyker offers comic relief as the publisher who is complicit in three elderly residents’ Great Escape from the Cuckoo’s Nest with Jim Broadbent’s immoral character. With his loss, sorrow, and confusion, Broadbent manages to elicit our empathy for the disgusting publisher.
The Wachowskis also created the Last of the Mohicans-meets-Mad Max space opera, a dystopian action adventure, and the slavery story of an American lawyer who becomes an abolitionist.
With Jim Sturgess changing his mind in reaction to the brilliant David Gyasi’s runaway slave, the Wachowskis parody Amistad and foreshadow Twelve Years a Slave. With the exception of Tom Hanks’ murdering doctor and Hugo Weaving’s evil slave dealer, everything is generally portrayed straight.
The Wachowskis’ masterpiece is the Big Brother nightmare of New Seoul, 2146; a bonkers sci-fi adventure that lifts I Robot, Minority Report, THX1138 and, most importantly, Blade Runner. Hanks scores yet again with one of his trademark Everyman characters, this time the far-future Valley man, Zachary in 2321, fighting off cannibal raiders. As the Fabricant (clone slave) Sonmi351, who starts the uprising, Korean actress Doona Bae is very mesmerising in this scene.
Each actor is given a starring part that carries one of the storylines, with the rest of the cast supporting them (with the exception of Hugh Grant who is terrible in all of his six minor roles).
As you can already see, practically every scene in Cloud Atlas is lifted directly from previous films. Even the intercut spaghetti of six tales has precedent in DW Griffith’s magnificent but politically questionable 1916 film Intolerance, which intertwines four historical accounts of persecution from ancient Babylon to the US in a manner similar to what Crash or Disconnect have recently done.
Additionally, Cloud Atlas is a crazy melting pot of concepts, including freedom and revolution, authority and subversion, love, loss, regret, sacrifice, and personal journeys, in addition to reflections on heaven and the afterlife, karma, and the transmigration of souls. Despite its many, many flaws, you have to give it credit for ambition since it takes a lot of effort to interconnect all of this in any logical narrative arc. In fact, Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life and The Life of Pi both struggle more than Cloud Atlas does, in large part due to the fact that each story has a strong romantic or friendship-based redeeming element.
In its attempt to “transform” all of the main characters into different races, the Cloud Atlas production treads a precarious line that borders on racism; African American Halle Berry gets to play a white European Jew, Doona Bae a ginger WASP American, while everyone else gets to be (occasionally comically) Korean. The fact that not everyone is suited to be Daniel Day Lewis should have been made clear. When free of prosthetics, all of the actors perform at their highest level.
Note: Tom Hanks does atrocious Irish and Scottish accents, and Hugo Weaving plays a very absurd modern-day Nurse Ratchett. None of the non-Koreans seem remotely Korean, even after spending hours in the makeup chair.
It is also incredibly long, with tightly edited storylines lasting just under three hours. Fortunately, it moves along, and I’ll give Twyker credit for that given the Wachowskis don’t have a reputation for being economical. While it is often awkward, sloppy, and just poorly directed; you spend too much time, as in John Huston’s “thriller” The List of Adrian Messenger, detecting the actors behind the prosthetics; in other instances, the A-list talent simply astounds you.
With the exception of the questionable philosophy-101 foundation (which Mitchel’s source material is to blame for), it’s intelligent, incredibly ambitious, the action set-pieces are audacious, the comic relief is touchingly funny, the sentiment is a little too sentimental, and each of the six plots could have been a respectable standalone short film. These are are likely the causes of Clous Atlas’ dismal box office performance; it’s both too little and too much, and a general audience used to overused Michael Bay clichés probably scratched its head and said, “Meh.” As if Cloud Atlas was ever going to gain popularity and draw in a sizable following. It is a variety of guilty-pleasure movie genres, and that is the sole perspective.
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