Posts Tagged ‘Wachowlski sisters’

Neo-Seoul – a view from above, from “Cloud Atlas”

Do you ever go to write something – a post or a comment – and realize you’re being verbose? And then do you delete it, certain no one would want to read your one-page novel?

Or does that only happen to me? I wonder, sometimes.

I’ve just finished watching the movie “Cloud Atlas.” It seems the author of the book on which the movie was based – David Mitchell – perhaps suffers from the same conundrum: how to get some ideas across without boring his audience to death.

Some ideas are like that. They take time to explain. It’s not that you want to spoon-feed your readers; you want to be clear about what you mean and just as importantly, what you don’t. And you want to convey nuance and intent, not just the action.

Cloud Atlas is a series of stories about a handful of souls, as they live different lives, in different eras, from ancient times to a far distant future. Each of those souls go through incarnations in which their personalities vary from evil to sublime. And each of the stories are unique and thrilling.

The screenwriters – the Wachowski sisters, and Tom Tykwer – have done an amazing work, piecing the stories together in a provocative way. Though it’s a long film (2 hours and 52 minutes), you really don’t get a sense of time passing. Like it or not, you become invested.

Tom Hanks plays a truly base and selfish man in one story, a distrustful but faithful protector in another, and grows to become a grandfather on a distant planet, telling his joyful grandchildren stories of the earth.

This movie also features Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Bae Doona (oh dear lord did she do an amazing job as a disposable fabricant named Somni-451 – born in a tank rather than a womb – who becomes a central figure in a rebellion), Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, and Hugo Weaving.

All of the actors must have had a blast playing such wildly different characters.

The thing that struck me throughout, was the weaving of these souls throughout history, as they often displayed their tendencies from their earlier incarnations. The central theme appears to be the truth that Somni-451 broadcasts to the world “Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past, and present. And by each crime, and every kindness, we birth our future.”

I watched this movie eleven years ago when it first came out. There was so much dialogue in it that I forgot most of it (apart from one very startling Tom Hanks scene when he was playing a dull-witted angry and brutish book author at a fancy party where he encountered his harshest critic), and so this time I watched it with the subtitles turned on.

I find I agree with Somni-451. Perhaps we’ll talk more about that later.

If I had to rate this movie out of 5, I’d give it at least a 6.