Germany/Hong Kong/Singapore/USA—Dir. Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer
The award for the most audacious film to play at the Festival this year would surely be handed to Cloud Atlas (if such a thing were to exist, which it totally shouldn’t). A vastly complicated, massive production spanning several hundred years, quoting liberally from genre films (Blade Runner, Soylent Green, Master and Commander, And Now For Something Completely Different, Parallax View) and featuring a small village worth of lead actors in multiple roles, this is not the kind of movie that typically gets green lit. Indeed, it likely occurred to many readers of David Mitchell’s visionary 2004 novel on which the film was based that an adaptation would be pretty much impossible. The complexity of the novel’s construction alone—six thematically linked stories, each set in a different time period ranging from the Victorian age up to the distant future, and each written in a time-specific vernacular, all interwoven into a grand braided narrative—should have been enough of a disclaimer against the idea. And yet, here it is.