Cloud Atlas Retrospective


Death. Life. Birth. Future. Present. Past. Love. Hope. Courage.

An 1849 diary of an ocean voyage across the Pacific; letters from a composer to his friend; a thriller about a murder at a nuclear power plant; a farce about a publisher in a nursing home; a rebellious clone in futuristic Korea; and the tale of a tribe living in post-apocalyptic Hawaii, far in the future.

Six stories that explore how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another across a vast time span. One extremely ambitious film which has resolutely stuck in my mind since seeing it earlier in the year.

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.

Like many of the Wachowski’s previous films (most notably The Matrix a decade ago), Cloud Atlas challenges our perceptions of reality, the meaning of life and how we fit into the grand scheme of things.

I’m surprised that it hasn’t garnered much attention but then again the film certainly isn’t casual viewing for audiences who are not used to having their preconceptions challenged from every angle.

The film is based on a novel of the same name by British author David Mitchell who previously lived in Japan for eight years, perhaps explaining the influence of Eastern philosophy on his writing.

Highly recommended.

David avatar


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