Cloud Atlas | Book+ Film Review

★★★★★/★★★★★  Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.

“Truth is singular. Its ‘versions’ are mistruths.”

This is basically six interconnected stories in the most unusual of ways. It all begins in 1850, as Adam Ewing voyages from the Chatham Isles to California, all the while being treated by a doctor for an odd brain parasite. Then we have Belgium 1931, where Robert Frobisher, a bisexual composer, tries to achieve something. Then we jump to 1970′s America, where a reporter named Luisa Rey investigates a murder and it’s ties with corporate greed, putting her own life in danger. We then present-day England, following the life on an old publisher put into a home and his attempts at escaping, much like “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. Then a neo-capitalistic Korea, where clones are the work force. All to reach the end, a futuristic Hawaii, stuck in an Iron Age after a sort of apocalypse.

“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”

This is one of the best written novels I have read. Not only does it have beautiful prose, but the plot is carved so masterfully that I could not contain myself from starting my own investigation and trying to find the connections between the stories, and I was still surprised.

“My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?”

My pretentious ass just loves this!

Now let me quote Aristotle here:  “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” The perfect description of the tale, without omitting however that each individual part is a beautiful and wonderful novella of its own. We have everything from how corporate greed can destroy Earth, to an anti-slavery novella, to will of power and self.

“Unlimited power in the hands of limited people always leads to cruelty.”

Throughout history humans have enslaved each other, using religion, ethnicity, culture, and may more different forms to keep others under their thumbs, this novel is here to tell us various forms and to tell us that we must crush it. This knowledge right now is what is keeping us from our more “animalistic instincts” of complete anarchy that will lead to savagery and death.

“The world IS wicked. Maoris prey on Moriori, Whites prey on darker-hued cousins, fleas prey on mice, cats prey on rats, Christians on infidels, first mates on cabin boys, Death on the Living. ‘The weak are meat, the strong do eat.’… One fine day, a purely predatory world SHALL consume itself.”

He says it is not about white supremacy, or christian supremacy, or any other explored, but rather there will always be someone that deems themselves more important and capable than the rest. It is all a power play and the weak will always have to hide. Even marginalized groups marginalize others.

And once you read this magnificent piece of work, please go on and watch the film, that not only has an incredible and talented cast, but an amazing crew that made the film such a strong experience.

Now to the film:

★★★★★/★★★★★ Review:  Cloud Atlas directed by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer based on the novel by David Mitchell.

Trailer 

“To be is to be perceived. And so to know thyself is only possible through the eyes of the other. The nature of our immortal lives is in the consequences of our words and deeds that go on apportioning themselves throughout all time. Our lives are not our own; from womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness we birth our future.”

(If you have seen the film you know where this comes form and if you didn’t cry at that scene you have no heart.)

Six interconnected stories. It all begins in 1850, as Adam Ewing voyages from the Chatham Isles to California, all the while being treated by a doctor for an odd brain parasite. Then we have Belgium 1931, where Robert Frobisher, a bisexual composer, tries to achieve something. Then we jump to 1970′s America, where a reporter named Luisa Rey investigates a murder and it’s ties with corporate greed, putting her own life in danger. We then go to present-day England, following the life of an old publisher put into a home and his attempts at escaping, much like “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. Then a neo-capitalistic Korea, where clones are the work force. All to reach the end, a futuristic Hawaii, stuck in an Iron Age after a sort of apocalypse. And then we solve everything backwards.

A lawyer that has made a deal for slavery is saved by a self-freed slave. His journal is discovered by a composer who writes letters to his love. A reporter reads these letters years afterwards trying to understand why people keep making mistakes over and over again. An old man is in search of his old love. Women all have the same face but are individuals without anyone knowing. One of them is freed and leads us to our future.

This is the dialogue a racist gives to the lawyer, and it was beautiful:

Haskell Moore: There is a natural order to this world, and those who try to upend it do not fare well. This movement will never survive, if you join them you and your entire family will be shunned. At best you will exist at pariah to be spat at and beaten, at worse to be lynched or crucified. And for what, for what, no matter what you do it will never amount to anything more than a single drop in a limitless ocean.
Adam Ewing: What is an ocean but a multitude of drops?

This is as far as we can come into this film without spoilers spilling out every word. So I cannot be very comprehensive, but I wanted to do a review, since this film has become one of my favourite of all time, and one I will re-watch time after time, even if the film is three hours long.

It is a puzzle, and even though it gets oddly paced together in the end, it is most fun for the viewer to try and do the placing during the film, as to feel a sense of accomplishment.

The cast was very well selected, in fact, I believe it is one of the best castings ever done in media. Truly incredible authors in an award-winning-worthy film.

Now go on and read the novel and then watch the film or vice versa. But do at least one.

“If God created the world, how do we know what things we can change and what things must remain sacred and inviolable?”

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