Immersive and all consuming – Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas - Official Poster - from IMDB.com

Cloud Atlas – Official Poster – from IMDB.com

Cloud Atlas (2013)

Directors: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, and Lana Wachowski »
Writers: David Mitchell (novel), Lana Wachowski (written for the screen by), Tom Tykwer (written for the screen by), and Andy Wachowski (written for the screen by)
Stars: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant

The thing that makes this 3 hour extravaganza captivating and able to hold one’s imagination and attention for such a lengthy period of time is the perfect balancing of story peaks and troughs. Through each scene there is a sense of intrigue, mystery, and interconnectedness that helps you piece each story together. Not knowing how each will end but wanting to know how each life affects the others is part of the journey of this film.

I haven’t read the novel but I intend to. Mainly because I’m fascinated to see how the tension is built in written form because it works so perfectly in the film. The Wachowski’s and Tykwer have taken Mitchell’s story and transported it onto screen so that it stands alone as a fascinating visual journey. Through editing, careful scripting and the soundtrack scoring, the peaks are powerful and come at the perfect moments in each sequence. The audience isn’t treated as unintelligent and being pushed and prodded through the complexities of the story. This film seeks to challenge our thinking. It is the reason why I think people won’t like Cloud Atlas, but I hope my pessimism is proved wrong because the challenge is worth the work.

There have been few moments in my life when I have been so captivated by a story in film that my entire body reacts to what is happening on screen. I can watch a film and do twenty other things at the same time and be able to tell you what it was about. But this film, oh my, this film transported me. It immersed me so fully and completely in its world that my mind, body, and spirit was involved in this film to the extent that I was left at the end of the film with an emptiness I can hardly describe. I wanted to watch it again immediately. I wanted to explore the world more fully, I wanted to know the characters more completely, and I wanted to escape again into the world of Cloud Atlas.

I could talk about the actors, the great prosthetics, the fantastic special effects, the comedy of the old people, the language of the tribal people, but I would be here all day. Instead I would like to leave you with the desire to see this film because of the experience I had in it. I know that everyone’s experience with this film will be different. It’s like the first time you hear that song that transfixes you and you replay it over and over because you’ve fallen in love with it, but you’ll never reclaim that first imagining, that first experience. Cloud Atlas is an immersive and all consuming cinematic experience that you should experience for yourself. Be captivated.

4/5

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For the woman he truly loves – Skyfall

Skyfall - Official Poster - from IMDB.com

Skyfall – Official Poster – from IMDB.com

Skyfall (2012)

Director: Sam Mendes
Writers: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan, and Ian Fleming (characters)
Stars: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Dame Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw and Naomie Harris

From the opening moments of this James Bond film you know it will be filled with everything that makes a Bond film great. There are the typical cheesy Bond moments of the classy casino, the car/motorbike chase, the Bond girl, and Bond kicking arse all around and surviving against the odds, and his one-liner wit. But you also see another side of Bond. The scriptwriters and Daniel Craig have given us better version of the rough-edged Bond you see in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. He isn’t the slick, nothing-ruffles-my-hair Bond of the Bronson or Connery age. He is a rugged and beaten up Bond. And in a lot of ways Daniel Craig has given James Bond a humanity that you don’t really see in the older films. The producers were on the right track when they convinced him to take the part. Daniel Craig looks sexy even as a beaten up alcoholic who comes back to life to save the woman he truly loves. I mean you can’t beat that.

The one thing that shouldn’t have surprised me but did was that Skyfall is a beautiful film. Sam Mendes has made an absolutely stunning film to watch. Every shot is gorgeous, and not just because Daniel Craig is in the shot. You can watch the music video for Adele’s Skyfall and see how visually brilliant they have made this film, but you don’t get the full effect unless you are sitting in a dark cinema with the full scale picture. I have no words for how delightful this film is to watch. It goes without saying that Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and the rest of the cast are brilliant but they have really stepped up the quality of this franchise all around.

I have to admit, I did take a moment during one of the slower parts of the film to work out whether my incredibly high expectations were making me love the film, or if it was just that I loved all Bond films – I even love Moonraker – or whether Skyfall was just a really good film. What was the conclusion I came to? It is an excellent film. From everything from the story to the actors to the justification for the fight scenes, everything fits together to make Skyfall a great film on its own. Even if you didn’t know anything about Bond you could still enjoy this film and appreciate it for a good action film. I don’t want to give anything away but there are some great hark backs to old Bond films that make this film a Bond fans delight.

Go and enjoy the fall.

4/5