There are a number of things that make Cloud Atlas something to look forward to. The book the story is based on, the directors and writers attached to the project, the great team of actors that have joined, the plot, filming sets and images already released. The extremely ambitious German-made but English speaking Cloud Atlas began production in September 2011 in Germany, at Studio Babelsberg, is now at post-production stage and will be hitting the screens in October 2012.
Cloud Atlas is a historical sci-fi based on the 2004 Booker prize-nominated novel by David Mitchell. It tells multiple life stories which ultimately intertwine and take us from past to present and future through people’s actions, their consequences as well as their significant impact onto other people’s lives. As this can carry a terrifying, negative and admittedly often-seen-before meaning, at the same time the film examines the positive side that several lives this interconnected can have. Acts of kindness as well travel through centuries, bring more and more good in a messed-up world and eventually inspire revolution.
The movie is written and directed by Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski, aka The Wachowski Brothers. The names are of course familiar and just their sound is enough to cause a great deal of excitement. Tom Tykwer is the writer/director of the very stressful but mesmerising Run Lola Run (1998) and the haunting Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer (2006). The Wachowskis have brought to us a lot of notable stories throughout the years, like V For Vendetta, however there is no doubt that we’ll always know them for The Matrix and all the sequels that followed, humouring our justified mania.
The cast is another thing that puts this film on the anticipated movies of 2012 map. It includes Tom Hanks (Dr. Henry Goose), Halle Berry (Meronym), Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Jim Sturgess, James D’Arcy, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Ben McKeen, Keith David, David Gyasi, Doona Bae, Zhou Xun and Ben Whishaw. The six main storylines force the story to go all the way back to the 19th Century South Pacific and travel to 1970s California, only to move from there to the still unknown far-off future. The actors attached to the project will take on a number of different roles, will change personality, gender, race and physical appearance completely in this time and place travelling process.
German media have described Cloud Atlas as the first ever attempt at a German blockbuster and the film’s budget is definitely the highest that a German film has cost up until now. Filming was mainly done in Germany, but also a few scenes were shot in Mallorca and some others in Scotland. American studios refused to finance the $100 million budget supposedly attached to this project, deeming the movie as too risky, so apart from what Germany provided, some money came in from China, Singapore and Korea. Warner Bros will be distributing Cloud Atlas in the United States, however the company has admitted this to have been as far as they could go with such an expensive independent film and financing it would have been dangerous for them. Although this could have initially been a problem, financing was still raised pretty quickly, and highly reliable filmmakers Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski have had absolute creative control over their project.
The unedited still version of the film has received a very positive reaction, and everyone, from the people involved in it, to the American Film Market in Santa Monica where it was shown, have described it as phantasmagorical, extremely well made, and more impressive than anything audiences across the world have seen in a while. And if all this is not enough to make Cloud Atlas a greatly anticipated film for 2012, then perhaps the fact that Hugh Grant will be doing a lot of killing and raping while covered in a great deal of make up, is something you might want to finally see.