This is my favorite film, and always will be. I am not usually comfortable with making predictions for the rest of my life, but I simply cannot see a film being made that surpasses Cloud Atlas. It is incomparable, its ambition rivaled by few.
Is it perfect? No. But is anything? The film contains six narratives, interwoven thematically, and yet many viewers have complained that there is hardly a narrative at all. Dear readers, this is not a film you are supposed to follow, but rather one you are supposed to feel. The narrative is nothing more or less than the weaving of the fabric that is our lives.
Each story, running the gamut of 1800s Pacific travel to wartime romantic correspondence to 1970s environmental conspiracy to modern day nursing home farce to futuristic escape tale to, finally, post-apocalyptic tribal invasion–each of these tales is connected, some more closely than others. Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, throughout the centuries, are bound to fall in love, just as Hugh Grant is likely to be the antagonizing authority. “From womb to tomb, we are bound to others,” as Sonmi says. I just… I’m speechless, which is really unfortunate for a critic.
At one point in the film, the music rises, and characters from every story are in love. Jim Sturgess and Doona Bae have sex. Tom Hanks rests his blanket on a sleeping Halle Berry. James D’Arcy dreams of spending time with his absent lover–I get chills at the very thought. Every cut between stories is a well-considered bridge in time. Directors Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis did not only tap into the true potential of cinema, they struck a valley of geysers.
I am in the minority of people who like this film, but our small numbers are grand in scale of passion. If the following quote does not convince you, nothing will: “I understand now that boundaries between noise and sound are conventions. All boundaries are conventions, waiting to be transcended. … Moments like this, I can feel your heart beating as clearly as I feel my own, and I know that separation is an illusion. My life extends far beyond the limitations of me.”
Are we not boundless souls on a voyage through time?