Friday, December 7, 2012

The Wachowskis & Tom Tykwer: Cloud Atlas

Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Cloud Atlas, Warner Bros. Pictures, 2012.

An obvious continuum of the Wachowskis' fascination with space, time, love, and destiny, the over-ambitious (and thankfully so) Cloud Atlas is one of this year's most singular filmic experiences. Interconnecting stories so dense and off-putting that the directors' employed fellow visionary Tom (Run Lola Run) Tykwer to handle the other half, this adaptation of David Mitchell's popular novel reels around the fountain with a force that only these three helmers could truly conjure.

At first, the diverging tales which make up this cosmic cornucopia are jarring as they jump. But as the exhausting, ecstatic picture comes to a close, they have all lined up fantastically. Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, in particular, have a ball playing multiple characters so far removed from anything they've evr done you may chuckle at first. Many will not care for how bizarre this movie truly is. And yet I cant imagine how anybody in love with the art and craft of cinema cannot recognize the Wachowskis as two of popular cinema's greatest talents. Bound, The Matrix, and Speed Racer are all diversely original yet enigmatic works which magnify in the mind upon successive viewings.

They smash borders of race and sexuality within, and a lot of it is borderline campy. Historical tales collide with science-fiction as they never have before. Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, Doona Bae, and Susan Sarandon all don wigs, prosthetic noses, and heavy make-up, all having the time of their careers.

Frank Griebe and John Toll do gorgeous work with their cameras, reminding us that they are two of the most gifted cinematographers in the world. Sets and costumes by a multitude of talent shine as some of this year's most distinctive. What leaves the biggest impression aside from the obviously eye-boggling visuals, is the emotional impact of almost every story, reminding us that the Wachowskis are not mere masters of the eye, but of the heart and mind.

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