CLUSTERFUCK: The Movie
Stars: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and Agent Smith.
Firstly: Fucking Spoilers.
Secondly: I don’t want to just be a negative naysayer, so lets look at this movie objectively without bias or vitriol; Cloud Atlas is a giant unflushable turd of a film laid plum on the face of modern cinema. Nestled comfortably alongside such other great cleveland steamers as Battlefield Earth and any post-1984 Star Wars, Cloud Atlas mistakes tired tropes for narrative, prosthetic teeth for acting and fortune cookie philosophy for meaning.
In short, I did not like this movie.
The basic premise of Cloud Atlas is ‘Everything is connected: past, present, future’, essentially making it every 3+ bucket bong conversation you ever had. It follows the journey of several souls as they travel on their karmic journey through bad accents and even worse make up.
Directed by Mr and Mrs Wachoski plus some guy who didn’t make The Matrix, if Cloud Atlas was a person, it would be that guy at University who spouted the liner notes from his Philosophy syllabus in order to pick up easily dazzled pussy. It wends its way through various narrative clichés with the delicate subtlety of a sledgehammer to the nutsack (white man finds salvation by helping emancipate a black slave anyone?) before arriving incoherently at a conclusion that expects the viewer to put a full stop to the film with a Keanu-like ‘Woah’.
I’m not saying this is a terrible film. It is in fact 6 terrible films. Its piecemeal structure drains the narrative of any momentum it potentially may have had, particularly through the tedious middle section which waffles and snores like a coma victim at an Open Mic.
Have I mentioned the make up? Let me mention it again. The make up is bad. Really bad. And I’m not just talking about the faux-Korean latex that looks like everyone in the futures’ mother was tag teamed on the set of Next Gen by a bunch of Vulcan extras. No, the makeup is one fart gag away from being The Nutty Professor 3: Karmic Klumps. In between Hanks’ fake teeth, Doona Bae’s terminal Ginger-vitis and Hugo Weaving channeling The Mighty Boosh, the film tries to weave a deeply symbolic tale reminiscent of the back cover of The Celestine Prophecy.
Avoiding the humiliation of Korean latex-gate obviously required a two Oscar minimum, as the only actor to escape this fate is Hanks. Halle Berry comes up one golden statuette short and is punished by appearing as the Kowakian Monkey-Lizard from Jabba’s Palace.
Ironically, it is the faux-Bladerunner story that provides the most interesting narrative, not the least because it shows boobs. If there’s one thing the Wachowski’s know how to do, it’s The Matrix and this is on display here, albeit with liberal helpings of Ridley Scott. There is some cool action and the story of a fabricant (replicant?) gaining self awareness and preaching emancipation from a totalitarian society (the subtly titled ‘Unanimity’) has more drive and drama than the rest of the film put together. But even this just feels like a shorter and more coherent version of the last two Matrix films (The Matrices?) with much borrowing of themes and style.
It’s not just Ridley however that comes in for a thieving as the film is basically a series of genre exercises and so lends itself to what can most kindly be referred to as ‘homage’. Everything from Soylent Green to The China Syndrome gets a nod. Indeed, much of the dialogue in the ‘Tom Hanks fights Rob Zombie’ sequence is lifted straight from the feral kids in Beyond Thunderdome. Them’s the true true.
So is it all bad? Well, yes, mostly. As mentioned Future Korea-land has some good stuff blowing up and overall the music is nice. However you could save yourself seventeen bucks and simulate the experience by watching Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s while masturbating to Vangelis
At $100+ million, Cloud Atlas is one of the biggest independent films ever made. Words such as ‘important’ and ‘ambitious’ have been attached to it indicating that people should see it simply because it attempts to fight against the torrent of soulless dross that endlessly pours from the anal cavity of Hollywood. But no matter how worthy the message or noble the cause, Cloud Atlas falls into the basic trap of being horrendously boring. And not just that, but 172 minutes of boring. That’s a lot of boring.
There may be those who sniff at my thoughts and take refuge in the first year film student’s refrain of ‘You just didn’t understand it’. Normally I would rebut this with wit and sarcasm but I really don’t like to make fun of anyone who needs to be fed through a tube.
As a final word I would like to say that any film that mentions Carlos Castaneda with a straight face can go fuck itself.
Cloud Atlas will be in Australian cinemas on February 28th and JB discount bins on February 29th.
Dr Mick Mach is a wholly owned subsiduary of Mach/Lap enterprises.
He has been known to lick ducks for the natural high.