— Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance from The Shining, 1980
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October 26, 2012
“Cloud Atlas” ambitious production an anomaly for the mainstream studio system
— Posted by Kenny Miles
When Cloud Atlas opens today, many movies goers will have a lot to digest from the truly ambitious and epic film. At nearly a three hour running time, viewers are transported and transfixed to another parallel universe the filmmakers created. The movie stars Tom Hanks and Halle Berry as they play various characters whose lives intersect one another. The cast also includes Oscar winner Jim Broadbent (“Iris”), Hugo Weaving (“The Matrix”), Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy, Xun Zhou, Keith David and David Gyasi, with Oscar® winner Susan Sarandon (“Dead Man Walking”) and Hugh Grant.
As per the press notes, “Cloud Atlas” was a collaboration of an established pedigree of filmmakers:
Encompassing a range of genres and set simultaneously in the past, present and future, “Cloud Atlas” illustrates how events and decisions made by the people in one period can reverberate in unforeseeable ways across the timeline to touch the lives of others.”
Shooting around Scotland and Germany, the production budget came in around $100 million. Considering everything splashed on screen from the set designs, costumes, and visual effects and the long running time, this is a relatively cheap production. In a Hollywood era where budgets are outrageous and out of control (“Men in Black 3” was reportedly over $200 million and didn’t look a third as good as “Cloud Atlas”), this is an alternative to what’s trendy in the industry. It is worth noting that a majority of the budget was independently financed. Technically, this is one of the most expensive independent films. With a low key wide release (1,950 screens), audiences will need to discover this sci-fi epic.
Finally, “Cloud Atlas” ranks with “The Master” as one of the most polarizing films of the year. I was ready to write this movie off, but decided to give it a chance. I was incredible moved and fully engaged with the film. What holds back “Cloud Atlas” from being one of the best movies of the year was the subplot that could best be described as a post-apocalyptic tribe in the 24th century. This world reminded me of something out of “Battlefield Earth.” With its modest big budget, lavish visuals, and high concept non-linear story line, a movie like “Cloud Atlas” needs to be applauded and celebrated among cinephiles and not destroyed among petty arguments who aren’t willing to give it a chance. There will be haters who won’t hold back. Those who enjoy “Cloud Atlas” will fall in love under its enchanting, magnificent spell.
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Whether something is overlooked by Hollywood or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies (especially the cultural impact of a film). He covers various aspects of movies including specialty genre films, limited release, independent, foreign language, documentary features, and THE much infamous "awards season." Also, he likes to offer his opinion on the business of film, marketing strategy, and branding. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. When he isn’t writing, Kenny channels his passion for interacting with moviegoers (something most movie pundits lack) as a pollster for the market research company CinemaScore and working as floor staff/special events coordinator in the film community. You can follow him on Twitter @kmiles723.
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