‘Cloud Atlas’: the best movie last year everyone missed
Last year was a great year for movies. The nomination list for the Oscars has recently been
released, and big films, such as “Lincoln,” “Django Unchained” and “Les Miserables,” are all up
for best picture, along with a host of nominations in other categories. However, none of them or
any of the other films nominated for best picture from 2012 would be my personal pick for the
best film released last year.
The best film of 2012 was “Cloud Atlas,” directed by the Wachowski siblings of Matrix fame
and Tom Tykwer, best known for “Run Lola Run.” In starring roles are Tom Hanks, Halle Berry
and several other talented actors.
Based on the novel of the same name by David Mitchell, the plot is actually six separate
plot lines that take place throughout different eras of history, interconnected through small
connections and repetition of themes and, most interestingly, the cast played different roles in
each story, with complex makeup changing the age, race and even gender of the actor.
The audience is taken not only through history, starting in 1700s and ending post-apocalyptic,
but through different genres, including science fiction, comedy and thriller.
Confused? So were potential audience members and film critics. “Cloud Atlas” opened to
mixed reviews and disappointment at the box office. Few people knew it was in theaters and
even fewer knew what it was about.
However, the interrelated plot lines constantly held my attention. The actors all did fantastic
jobs in their variety of roles. The extreme makeup had an occasional misstep, but, overall,
carefully hid the actors it was suppose to and revealed the recurrences that highlight the message
of the film.
The message and feeling of connection in the film is what makes it my personal pick for
the best film of the year. The importance of human life and the way one’s actions can ripple
throughout time is illuminated. Across the screen flashes the best and worst of human nature
repeating itself to mixed results. Tragedy is not shied away from, but neither is a happy ending
When I left the theater, I sincerely felt that I had briefly been connected to something beyond
myself. An adaption that created something beyond the original source material, in a world of
sequels and remakes, “Cloud Atlas” is not mere entertainment, but an experience.
For some, the experience may not connect or the slightly more complicated plot might be too
much for the simplest of moviegoers, but for me the film has the potential to give you something
to enjoy and reflect on.
Cloud Atlas will not win an Oscar, and that is a tragedy. If there is one movie that deserves to
be experienced from last year, this is the one, if merely for its daring, if not its execution.
The upcoming Feb. 5 DVD release is a second chance to view a film that deserves
The best film should not be missed twice.