The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

November 21, 2012

‘Cloud Atlas’ good enough to see again

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 — Before I entered the theater I had heard that opinions about “Cloud Atlas” were very mixed. Many were disappointed. I did not know why because I do not read reviews of films until after I have seen them and made up my own mind. (If you choose to do this, you should stop reading now. I would, however, hope that you will save this review and read it after you see the film). So I went into the theater thinking I will probably be disappointed, but it will not be the first time.

“Cloud Atlas” clocks in at 172 minutes (that’s eight minutes shy of three hours). I am not sure how many minutes into the film I began to feel this way, but suddenly I realized, “I am glad this is three hours long. I do not want it to end.” It is epic. It is stunningly beautiful. Each of the different stories is incredibly engaging. All of the major characters are well-developed. There are countless moments of quotable dialogue. “Cloud Atlas” is like nothing I have seen in while. And it is one of the best films of the year.

The film, based on a novel by David Mitchell, tells six different stories that occur during different time periods. The oldest tale takes place in 1849 and the other five are set in different eras beyond the nineteenth century, the last in the distant future. The stories intersect in a variety of ways but ultimately stand alone as unique individual narratives. There are history, romance, comedy, action and crime stories. Each of the stories is told in little bits, all of them climaxing in the last hour of the film.  

My only complaint about “Cloud Atlas,” and I write this with a smile, is that just when I was totally engrossed in one of the six stories, the filmmakers changed scenes on me. It is an amazing achievement that the writer/directors of “Atlas” could successfully make each and every one of the stories a captivating joy to behold. My hat is off to the Wachowski siblings who gave us the “Matrix” movies and Tom Tykwer who wrote and directed one of the best foreign films you have perhaps never seen, “Run Lola Run.”  (Add that one to your Netflix Queue). These three wrote and directed the different pieces of the film which ultimately would become a nearly perfect cinema experience.

 I am not sure that the Academy will reward “Cloud Atlas” with a Best Picture nomination. If I were a voting member, there is not doubt it would make my list of nominees. But either way, I cannot imagine that “Atlas” is not going to sweep the technical nominations: Art Direction, Cinematography, Costumes, Editing, Make-up, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Visual Effects. I can think of one film which was nominated and went on to win awards in all eight of these categories: “Titanic.” “Cloud Atlas” is not having the box office success of “Titanic,” nor is it likely to sweep all these categories even if it is successful in gleaning nominations. The three that seem the most deserved would be Cinematography, Editing and Make-Up.

There is a great deal more that I could tell you about “Atlas”, but as always, it is better for you to discover those things in a darkened theater. I would offer two final thoughts. First, I saw “Cloud Atlas” in an Imax Theater and I would encourage everyone to see it in that venue. Second, Roger Ebert has written of the film: “Even as I was watching ‘Cloud Atlas’ the first time, I knew I would need to see it again. Now that I’ve seen it the second time, I know I’d like to see it a third time.”

Ebert gave “Atlas” four stars which is his highest rating.

I believe that “Cloud Atlas” will be one of those films that I watch over and over again through the years, and I think each time I will enjoy this grand achievement as if it were the first time.

 

1
Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • D.G. Martin Read others’ views to be better informed, decide for yourself

    “I don’t read The Washington Post. That is not where I get my ideas.”

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon This isn’t medical marijuana

    As state legislators debated allowing the use of an extract from marijuana plants to treat seizure disorders over the past couple of weeks, it was evident that social conservatives – there are many of them in the General Assembly – felt a tinge of unease about it, even as almost every one of them voted yes.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Friends and contentment

    Last week I made my annual trip up the mountain to Sparta. My friends have a secluded home near a babbling brook. Their home and property are a haven for peace. It’s a two-plus hour ride to their home that doesn’t feel that long because I look so forward to my time with this great couple. When I arrive, the conversation seems to pick up right where we left it the last time we saw each other.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thanks for the honest deed

    I would like to thank the person that found my wallet in the parking lot of Harris Teeter on July 23 and turned it in to the Albemarle Police.

    July 29, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • We need your help

    Hurray for the Albemarle City Council. Council plans to battle N.C. Department of Transportation’s ranking of all 13 projects in Stanly County to the bottom of their priority list. Council is setting up petitions in various city buildings for citizens to sign.

    July 28, 2014

  • Council asks veterans to seek office

    The terms of office for the leaders of the Stanly County Veterans Council ended June 30. A call is being sent to veterans council members requesting candidates for the four elective offices of the council. A meeting has been set for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at the DAV building. All council members are urged to attend.

    July 28, 2014

  • Mike Walden The gains and gaps in our economy

    Twice a year, I pull out my cloudy crystal ball and attempt to make some predictions about the direction and pace of the North Carolina economy. I just finished my latest effort and, as usual, the results are a combination of pluses and minuses.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason O. Boyd Yellow journalism takes on new form, people are dumber for it

    Time to get on the soapbox for a few minutes.
    Let me clear my throat. Eh ... hem!
    People are dumb.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Special election adds to the mix

    RALEIGH – A busy slate of judicial elections this November got even busier recently when Judge John Martin of the N.C. Court of Appeals announced his retirement.
    A special statewide election to fill Martin’s seat will be added to the general election ballot, joining the four N.C. Supreme Court seats and three N.C. Court of Appeals races already slated for this fall.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content