People were practically running for the exits when the lights came up after Cloud Atlas finished. No, to be more specific, they were jumping out of their seats while the credits rolled.
I’d met an elevator full of people on my way to the screening who said it was 3 hours of their lives they would never get back.
Those were some of the most memorable three hours I have ever spent in a movie theater and I think you should see it. I don’t even know you and I think you should see it.
“There’s no story!” someone said. Actually, there are six. And one beautiful theme. And a stunning score. And some of the ballsiest use of actors that I have ever seen.
If you saw my last blog, it was about the movie Argo. Ben Affleck casts himself as a Latino. All my friends keep telling me how good the movie is and that’s great, but I don’t care. If the man the movie was based on was African American, there’s no way a white man would have been allowed to play that role. I can’t watch that movie and not be distracted by that.
But ultimately, I strongly believe that actors should be allowed to be versatile and some of the greatest character actors played all sorts of races (Lawrence Olivier, Anthony Quinn). And of course, there’s the extraordinary versatility of the great Meryl Streep, who once played a Jewish male rabbi (Angels in America). What a wonderful tradition and it blew my mind to see Cloud Atlas take it to a completely different level.
The movie is worth seeing for its theme, which is beautiful and its stories, which range in genre from romance/tragedy to science fiction. It is a feat not only for the filmmakers but for their audience to experience. You won’t see a film like this again for a long time if ever. Some people will hate being tested this way. And others will revel in the demands this film makes of you.
But what is sure to delight is watching these actors delve with enthusiasm into the various characters of various races leaping back and forth in time. Even when it doesn’t work!
And it doesn’t sometimes. I was glad the film was as long as it was. It took me the first hour to get used to how freaky everyone looked.
We come to know these stars for the most part because of their looks. So it’s a trip to see beautiful Susan Sarandon mutated into something truly not, but then ethereal and strange looking later. But that ended up being one of the films joys for me. It’s brave.
It’s bold. And just plain fun to watch. (I laughed out loud almost every time Hugh Grant came on screen. He’s doesn’t have to do anything and he makes me laugh. But such a great under rated actor.)
I was happy to be reminded of how we are all connected, the spectrum of race – including my own – and see it explored so intensely. And I loved it when it didn’t work! As that was just as important, because race does matter. Just as much as it doesn’t.
How ’bout them apples.
I’ll be posting some shorts I directed in just a few days, so come back soon.