Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Unfilmable Made Marvelous

Oh man. Oh MAN! 

I saw CLOUD ATLAS.  I had low expectations after reading about it in the NY Times. (It's a good article and actually ended up helping me follow the movie more thoroughly, so read it.)

This film has all the qualities of a possible disaster:
1. INCREDIBLY complicated storyline - an interweaving of six stories, all in different genres, all in different time periods.  The book is - was - considered "unfilmable".

2.  The actors are cast in a repertory-like manner - some playing up to 5, 6, 7 different characters in the film. You know the make-up has to be astounding, but what about the performances?

3. The past work of the Wachowskis pointing to another big-budget dud ("Speed Racer", anyone? No, really, did ANYone see it?!) and the possibility of a philosophically dense screenplay not unlike the third Matrix installment. 

4. Completely independently financed because no one in Hollywood would make it, not even with two-time Oscar darling Tom Hanks giving his blessing. Of course, just because Hollywood is afraid to make a film doesn't really mean jack - there is a huge lack of vision and boldness in our filmmaking industry today. 'Safe, safe, and more safe' seems to be the mantra.

5. It has a running time of 164 minutes. 'Nuff said.

So yes, I was concerned. But then the movie began...........and despite some difficulty understanding some pidgin English written into one of the genres, I was SEAMLESSLY engaged.  CLOUD ATLAS is magnificently bold, intelligent, emotional, and hopefully a contender for Best Picture this year. If it isn't, I will be shocked and terribly disappointed. The story work alone exemplifies the direction filmmakers should be going, should be striving for.  There is a fearlessness present that translates into timelessness - because this kind of film I could watch over and over and over and over again.  

By the way, indie-lovers will be flocking simply because of the Wachowskis' collaboration with Tom Tykwer (pronounced Tick-ver, apparently).  This project was truly carried by a love of film and we feel that as an audience while viewing it.  OH - and the multiple performances? Totally, totally fun.  It's like watching each actor bask in a different stream - all are refreshing and bright in their own way.

Here's an extended trailer.

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