cloud_atlas_movie_poster_2Cloud Atlas was one of my most anticipated films of the year for a number of reasons:

  1. I really enjoyed the book (my thoughts on it are here)
  2. I was intrigued by the idea of individual actors playing multiple characters that crossed race and gender and
  3. (possibly most importantly) Silvery Dude was overcome by a level of excitement which was infectious

So, first thing to say was how difficult it was to actually see this film. I know it didn’t do well in the US but I thought such a big budget adaptation of a significant novel would be handled better by the distribution companies over here, but it was a struggle to get to a screening in our bit of south west London, only one a day by the looks of it and I’m not the only one who had that experience.

But having got there at 7pm on a Sunday evening it was nice to see that the cinema was busy and we settled down expecting a real spectacle which is exactly what we got. I loved this film despite its flaws because it was really trying to do something special and different and I thought its messages about love and spirituality really came across, and it looks totally and utterly spectacular.

The structure was very interesting. It was one of the things I wondered about when I heard it was being made was how the directors would handle the nested story structure, and sensibly they decided to do something different, moving backwards and forwards between the narrative strands in a very fluid way, with dialogue from one story still playing over the visuals of the next one, and that really worked for me.

In terms of the cast, they were uniformly great. I’ve come to really admire Tom Hanks and his range here is wonderful, Halle Berry is really very good (and not someone I normally warm to), Ben Whishaw and Jim Broadbent were real delights, but the big revelation for me was Hugh Grant, reminding us all that he can do so much more than the floppy haired posh Englishman; in a couple of the stories he was actually unrecognisable.

I will admit that I was a bit worried at the start as the approach seemed a bit scattergun and the tone uneven (which isn’t surprising when you consider how different the individual stories actually are) but any concerns seeped away and the whole film was justified by the last forty minutes and I was crying quietly (in a good way) by the time the credits rolled.

Silvery Dude considers this his “new most favourite film….EVER”. As I said, I loved it and is now on my must buy list.