By Charly SHELTON
Every year, there is at least one movie that everyone talks about because it is so epic. “Avatar.” “Inception.” And now “Cloud Atlas” will join those ranks for 2012. Despite being a little confusing at the beginning, it does come together after a little bit and you can start to piece together the story. An amazing assemblage of stories, in fact.
The film takes place through several stories that connect in some way. From a merchant ship sailing back from the New World in the 19th Century to 1970s America, Neo Seoul in the 22nd Century, all the way out to a post-apocalyptic future and the society trying to rebuild it 100 years after the fall of modern society. There cannot be much that these characters have in common, living so far apart in history, but each connects in ways that cannot be understood in one lifetime.
As good as this movie was, I am reluctant to say much about it in the way of plot or specific aspects I enjoyed. Part of the benefit, I think, was that the advertising for this film is minimal in quantity and how much is shown. If you see the trailer on television, it is just a bunch of random shots that really make very little sense in relation to each other and floating between shots are quotes about how amazing this movie is. Knowing little about the plot or structure was of benefit to me in viewing the movie for the first time because it is so much to absorb – I was just dumbfounded. So much was going on and it all happened so quickly that I was in awe for most of the movie and I think that helped with the overall enjoyment of the film. It is definitely enjoyable if the plot or details are known, but it is more amazing going in as a blank slate to absorb whatever is put out there on the screen.
As a film critic, it is rare to actually be blown away by a film. I have seen so many movies and a good majority of those films are very much the same in their ability to really impress that it is a special occasion when I walk out of the theater at a loss for words. This happens maybe once every couple of years at best. But “Cloud Atlas” is one of those movies.
I am anxiously awaiting to see how the Academy will receive it. The effects were great, the make-up was better and the acting, on the part of all the actors, was absolutely incredible. If Tom Hanks doesn’t get an Oscar this year, I am going to be very upset.
“The Avengers” is still my favorite movie of the year (and of all time) but this film has a real chance of making an impact on the awards season, and on the world in general. This will be the movie that people talk about for years to come. Don’t miss it. Rated R, I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars.