April 21, 2021

Midweek Mention... Cloud Atlas

Midweek Mention... Cloud Atlas
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Tom Twyker and the Wachowskis serve up what is surely one of the most ambitious films ever made with 2012's Cloud Atlas. Adapted from David Mitchell's supposedly unfilmable novel, Cloud Atlas follows characters inspired across time by acts of artistic expression in six short stories sharing an incredible cast including one of Sidey's least favourite actors, Tom Hanks, and one of his very favourite, Hugh Grant.

With plenty of plot and thematic content to address in this epic 170 minute movie, there's also the accusations of 'yellowface' to discuss which dogged the film, a sad and uncomfortable aspect of its legacy that would be entirely at odds with the film makers progressive intentions and the contributions of the racially diverse cast.


Cloud Atlas


Reegs:So this week's movie was your choice Peter What did you go for

Pete:So this was my nomination for the hundredth episode voting thing And it came joint first with society's nomination of they live and I plumped for cloud app


Dan:Well since they both didn't really win that pole cause you both cheated on it I didn't watch this one either

Pete:You should if you were going to watch one or the other you should get this One's a much easier one Oh you did

Dan:I caught up with

Sidey:hang on This is a what

Pete:It's a much easier watch than they live It's just you know

Sidey:In the sense that it's not at all

Pete:I'm being sarcastic

Reegs:Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

Sidey:Nearly fell off my

Reegs:yeah Okay Go And you've watched the live It's great Isn't it

Dan:and me and the boy watched it And it was decent as you described in the midweek movie mentioned I got what I got on that tin and I'm always pleased with it

Pete:Well let let's try and convince you that cloud Atlas is worth the same same

Sidey:I'm going to struggle to convince you to fail

Dan:Okay Well

Pete:Oh that's predictable

Dan:peace taught me into more more than just watching a film before So it's all for

Reegs:that sounds like a story that needs

Sidey:I do have a bunch of it because Pete in your campaign you outed me as a Tom Hanks hater which is not true

Pete:I think you've been very complimentary about him and a lot of his role

Sidey:I like It's Forrest Gump that I specifically have hatred for like cast away Joe volcano wrote a petition there's loads of good stuff in there Here's a bit of a kind of vanilla dude It's hard to

Reegs:accuse him of being in a global vampiric

Sidey:That's true though Yeah So I'm I'm on board with Tom Hanks not so much here grant

Dan:don't lie Huge I think he's decent I like him

Pete:Well what I like about both of these guys in this film and in fact all of the the actors in this film is that they play a whole MariaDB Of different characters there totally I mean there's there's no way that you would have per Hugh grant playing any of the character I don't think any of them may

Reegs:in particular stand out as being very far from his usual thing We should probably say this is going to be a really hard movie for us to talk about So sorry to the


Reegs:So this is going to be rambling It's a

Pete:for Dan It is effectively a like a conglomerate of six different stories all set at different times There Oh

Dan:conglomerate mean

Pete:Just things all like smashed

Sidey:the six best premier league teams came together to form a European super league which excluded Westham that would be a conglomeration of teams

Dan:junk But

Pete:Westham would have been the storyline that they left out because it wasn't good enough

Dan:right away I am I am kind of website you on this way I I'm not feeling this might be the film for me but carry on

Pete:Okay So that that's the basic that it was it's a film adaptation of a book which I I didn't ever read and I didn't know anything

Reegs:I've actually got it at home I was going to bring it I wondered if anybody wanted to read it It's really good

Pete:Right Apparently apparently as a as a book it was incredibly difficult to sort of put piece together as a concept And as a film I imagine even harder But they did they made it it's got an absolutely massive sort of ensemble cast and quite a lot So th there's a lot of there are themes that run through it it's the the majority of the same actors Just playing different characters in each of the six stories They're all

Reegs:each of the different time

Pete:Yes And they're all set in different time periods I think at the earliest one is

Reegs:1849 and the latest one is 2,364

Pete:or something like that in the past kind of the presence there's a couple of them in sort of our recent history and then

Reegs:there's a sequence around three mile Island Isn't it in 1973 and all of this stuff that happened there

Pete:And so and I think it again it's fair to say in each of them So you've got you've got Tom Hanks you've got Halle Berry You've got Hugh grant Jim Broadbent Yeah And


Pete:absolutely stellar cast

Dan:And is it and so the six stories they're all intertwined

Pete:They are they're effectively intellect There's usually something like a remnant of each time well at least each time period each story that is then picked up on or referenced in the in the in the succeeding a story

Reegs:So basically At its core and this is why absolutely unabashedly love this movie it's about an act of artistic expression in one time period sort of becoming the basis of a revolution for in another Which I just think is such an amazing idea

Pete:it's either

Reegs:so the cloud Atlas title is is a piece of music that is played in one of the sort short stories with Ben Whishaw who is an actor I really like it's a really good story It's about a sort of aging my Strayer Maestro composer Yeah And his sort of young adoring apprentice who was sort of treated really badly but also has an amazing artistic expression in him And he's also got this complicated gay relationship going on So there's all sorts of stuff going on That's one of the stories but

Pete:of his not necessarily as inspiration but one of the things he sort of turns to in the quieter times is the the journal of I don't I can't remember the actor's name

Reegs:Jim Sturgis

Pete:Right So yeah So there's this guy who was on a a slave trade expedition in the first story he writes a journal that journal then becomes Parts of the the second story the music itself and the letters to his his gay lover become a theme in the third story which is Halle Berry's lead

Dan:batons that are passed through


Reegs:like that

Dan:all artistic though Are they

Pete:Yeah they're expressive The

Dan:span is too great

Reegs:Selves are this is sort of re-encounter there's quite a new agey reincarnation thing going on That's why the actors are playing like different versions Very different versions of themselves So for instance you go weaving plays evil Mrs Doubtfire as a nurse right It's really weird Jim Sturgis plays kind of Keanu Reeves in the matrix but Asian sort of there's a real problem with with the yellow face around this movie that we'll probably have to talk about as well

Pete:I th I think as well

Reegs:a white woman

Pete:a lot of the but a lot of the the characteristics assimilate like most of you Grant's characters are all bastards


Pete:All of you go weavings are kind of like evil or their bosses Halle Berry is is a a heroine in most of them

Reegs:The the Hugo weaving character does have a redemption arc in one of the stories So it's only it's only Hugh Grant's one who does a couple of acts of horrible violence

Dan:this Then it sounds like It's the same person that goes through different

Reegs:I think the idea

Dan:seeing the the the kind of you know the wheel of life

Reegs:Yeah I think the idea is that it's a soul

Pete:Yes I think that's it

Reegs:by a birthmark in the shape of a comet Not all of them some of them And this is to reinforce the idea that it's like a different version of the same soul undergoing a journey over the six stories

Dan:so I mean it's similar to Buddhism isn't it Then you know you've got that kind of weird one to break it you know then you want to find enlightenment to to maybe then of those people that remembers all those other

Pete:lines Well at the heart of of each of the stories all bear Some some of it sort of quite like not that obvious quite subtle but some of it on a significant level this there's some sort of either it's like rebellion or awakening to sort of like the the horror certain concepts like the the abolition of slavery is the main kind of theme in the first one I guess there's not really that bigger message in the second one with the

Reegs:In 1973 that one

Pete:Yeah yeah yeah The exposure of the so it's yeah

Reegs:And then you've got the sort of it's kind of a story about an MP coming out then with shores one as well Isn't it That is although he's not really featured in it that's part of it So you've always got these th the sort of interconnectedness of the people across time and These imposed restrictions that are on some part of the society and that's what they're rebelling against

Dan:And and then I'm thinking back the last time I watched a film with kind of different stories within stories we've probably Buster


Dan:But I'm getting that this isn't like that this is more connected then Buster SOGs which was almost standalone little

Reegs:Madness Darren there Buster sucks yeah Buster Scruggs Yeah

Sidey:That was that was separate stories whereas there's a sort of inter

Reegs:the semantically linked

Pete:Yeah That they are

Dan:of art or a

Pete:So the film itself Jumps between the timelines I mean it starts off with with Tom Hanks playing his character in which in which he's they they all sort of take it in turns to be the lead character in the in their different stories Like the main actors It is nice Everyone gets to go

Dan:move into the star

Pete:Yeah that's basically Yeah And the others become sort of supporting it's it's it's rotated like that but it it jumps around that so that there the stories are linear in themselves but but they it jumps around between the different timelines at times sometimes 32nd or two minute sequences just to move the storyline forward and and what they do as well

Reegs:One like that where there's like a segment where he's talking about the boundaries between noise and sound or conventions or boundaries or conventions waiting to be transcended And then it's got all this like Smashing up of the China in that


Reegs:And it's got the robot and the guy doing it with the you know penis in the vagina and you've got the Tom Thanksgiving that chicken a blanket and stuff like all of it Oh man Just resonating across the top

Pete:Yeah And it shows it shows some of the you know similarities between the stories Like showing them one after the other as well Like they sort of come together It's such an it's a it's an impossible film to describe we we'd done our best for me I knew nothing about it Like what drew me in was

Dan:sounds like quite a long film Is it a



Pete:second or three hours Right But what drew me in In the first place I can remember was was the cost more than anything And the fact that it you know I I think I saw some stills of like Tom Hanks with you know as Zachary the guy at the end to set in the future looking like he's got like a bit of a weird tribal tattoo on his face

Reegs:Hugo weaving is kind of dressed as like something that you'd find in the mighty Boosh but like Really

Pete:Yeah Yeah yeah As as like a an adaptation of of the devil Really I can't remember what he what he calls him old something Oh Craig Oh I can't remember what he calls him but it's Yeah Is and in and in some of them like he go weaving I think Maybe James Darcy or one of the other characters Did you notice So when in the one where Jim broadband is the main character which is kind of like the modern day he gets involved with like a gangster he's he's a biographer isn't he And he gets involved with a gangster and he's and he's written his biography This gangster is is not doing particularly well The sales of the book aren't doing particularly well and he's he's getting he's yeah like somebody's ripping him at that party like it was it

Reegs:it's the publisher's Absolutely bro Yeah

Pete:And so he comes up with a genius idea at that moment at the party And this is on like the top floor of a massive London building of just grabbing the GOs ribbing him and throwing him straight off the top of the building And then immediately

Reegs:a blood spray

Dan:I'm just picking Joe

Pete:and this and this gangster this gangster I mean side he said before Tom Hanks has no range and he's not a very good actor this gangster is it It's Tom Hanks playing an Irish balding It's not the best Irish accent I've ever

Reegs:No it's dreadful but it's a great scene

Pete:Yeah And yeah it's like you've never seen him before and I do have to pick up on it I know you don't like here gone and I'm not going to try and convince you otherwise but at least like he his biggest sort of criticism is it's like typecast you're just playing the same decade in every single film He doesn't go anywhere near that character or the normal characteristics in this film At one point he was playing like the head of a cannibal tribe and he's like he's pretty terrifying as that he's yeah he he's he he plays Jim Broadbent kind of like asshole brother Who's made it almost a bit of a gangster himself who's made it his wife has played by another male actor just again to keep these kind of strange themes So you have like men playing female parts females playing male parts You have Asian actresses playing white female parts You

Sidey:do with who it's directed by or is that part of the

Reegs:it's not it's difficult not to see it in that context now isn't it And

Sidey:is directed by the siblings and this was their first film after they both transitioned to being Lorna and Lily is that their names That's right Isn't it Yeah but there's also a third-party who sounds like it could be a character in the film Tom

Dan:I think you know when it comes to this thing blackened up or yellow face or or whatever you know we want to call it if there's good reason to do it within the film and it fits the plot like if you're playing that character who's playing From what I hear here many lives of that person And you want to yeah Just try and touch on that

Reegs:I think

Dan:to act you know


Dan:having some in there for no other reason then you know w when we dressed I'm thinking back to somebody's old films where they used to dress up Western actors to look like Chinese or

Pete:whatever And it was just like one of our dinosaurs is missing was a was a strong


Reegs:but I think the argument so

Dan:you and watch your film

Reegs:so I think the argument is that It's really unfortunate because this is definitely a movie that is pro diversity There's

Pete:It's it's so multicultural Yeah There are multicultural themes running through or not just multicultural There's all manner of there is representation of of all kinds of people throughout All of the stories and and they haven't it's not like in so one of the one of the stories is set in a place called Neo soul which is 21 something or other it's set in the future It you know soul has kind of like is it underwater or it's it's certainly sort of gone to rack and ruin

Reegs:like a very small version of

Pete:this is the one that I think probably caused the most controversy because you've got a lot of predominantly white actors playing sort of well characters with Asian features albeit around the main actress is a a South Korean actress in that sequence but she's also in other I

Reegs:plays a Mexican woman in one of the

Pete:she does It's it's you know they will do it They're doing this with makeup this wasn't I think it you'd struggled to say that it was like taking away an opportunity from a an Asian actress or a you know actresses or actors from from different walks of life or cultures or whatever It was part of the continuity of the story and of the souls that have been referenced Yeah For me it wasn't something I mean it's probably worth saying I have a an Asian partner and and you know mixed race children I did not find this offensive in any way shape or form Neither did my other half who is Asian it was understood that it was this it was just the same actors playing different roles throughout the film I don't I don't think so Because then because then it would have been lost The you know the the the representation of the souls would have would have been low but I don't speak for every Asian person or anyone that may have been offended by it But

Reegs:so I think The way I've heard the argument which makes the most sense to me is that you had an action role that you gave not you that was given to an American a young American white actor who then use prosthetics to make himself look Asian in an action scene And there's not enough positive representations of Asian men as leading Figures in movies and why can't they cast an Asian man and have him white face And yet that seems to be the argument I get that I do get that So and that does seem to be the specific role that has caused the most controversy I understand that argument There's absolutely no intent

Pete:I don't believe

Reegs:the movie at all Especially like you said tidy through the lens of their own personal experience So this has to be one of the most ambitious films ever made I fucking love

Pete:what Dan Sidey will presumably either say very few words or say his piece in a minute What I would say to you you cannot Ever you have to this film has to be seen in order to be understood or critiqued in any way shape or form It is like nothing else I've ever ever seen before or since it is it is massively ambitious Nope No it's totally different Yeah

Sidey:It was really expensive I don't know if it's Necessarily the most expensive independently financed film but it's right up there it was way over a hundred million dollars

Reegs:Right Because the scope is enormous

Dan:book was big Wasn't it

Reegs:I figured

Sidey:Dan it was huge Had the rich house has contributed 7 million 7 million of their own money that the German government financed it 20 million of it So it's obviously Nazi propaganda in some way as a counterpoint I I would say Before I give my opinion I always go into film wanting to enjoy it and to like it I didn't get on with this movie I would say that it is by a distance the worst thing I've ever fucking seen Yeah I just

Dan:believe that

Sidey:I had

Dan:in the worst thing you've

Pete:ever seen The worse thing you've ever seen

Sidey:to compare to this

Reegs:Oh wow

Sidey:go But I had had my COVID job and I was So fucking rough and it was just going on and on this film and I was just I was struggling I was really struggled with it I was going to turn it off after an hour I thought I can't do that because we've got to talk about it but I fucking hated it I absolutely hate

Reegs:That's horrible


Dan:So would you have rather not watched it are you glad that you

Sidey:watched I watched it I could have watched two films

Pete:Yeah Yeah But if you've got a close mind like Sidey or

Reegs:I think

Sidey:no No I would I would agree with the guys in the is super ambitious and I guess Uh maybe if I had a clearer state of mind at the time I watched it maybe it would have been bit it would have connected with it a bit more It's very confusing I found it very difficult to follow and so for that reason I was just like God and then you know you're strapped in for three hours You're like Oh man this is fucking going on and on I don't like fucking Hugh grant big big fan of Tom Hanks as we discussed this is his this is one of the only films of his that he re watches So yeah


Pete:the the cost themselves are all huge fans of the film

Reegs:Tom if you're listening and you want to come to the man-cave and watch it we'll make sure side he's not here because he hates you will be MP and maybe

Pete:Danny you okay with Tom Hanks coming Yeah Even though you don't want to watch the film that he likes himself in

Dan:watch it together

Pete:you and Tom Okay There is an offer for you Tom Yeah

Dan:refuse Yeah 

Sidey:66.6 7% of us enjoyed this film


Reegs:Because I love this movie so much I've seen it maybe four or five times now And like I say I've read the book

Pete:That was that was at least my third or fourth time Yeah

Dan:If you can lend me the book I

Reegs:Oh well

Dan:that before I

Reegs:but so someone online called it a pretentious cliche it's like yeah I totally get that people That is a completely If that was your reaction to the movie I could totally understand it Long-winded new age MES sup PhD travels said it was like flipping channels for three hours which which I saw you know and and I can't deny how

Sidey:It's going to polarize people because it's not a safe film It's not you're not sitting there Like it's it's not a vanilla sort

Pete:but that's your criticism of Hugh grant as an actor And you have referenced Tom Hanks safe choices as well And these they've gone so far all of them have gone so far Everyone has gone so far out of their comfort zone for this

Sidey:If you're on the edge sometimes it be your love it And sometimes you'll hate it That's fine There's those eyes There's there's people that miss musicians that I like that like that you know sometimes it just doesn't work but at least they're taking a chance or something So I I'm glad that they went out and they made this thing They're passionate about it And they took a chance on it For me it just didn't hit you know and I really really didn't enjoy it But you know I'd sooner people were doing this sort of thing that just chatting out your fucking city bomb comes all the time You know what I mean

Pete:Although you stand by the worst thing you've ever

Sidey:It's the it's the least enjoyable I've ever had watching a movie ever

Reegs:I read that it's got quite a lot to do with the vaccine I reckon more than the movie Surely

Sidey:Well I would attend I don't know I've never watched it again I couldn't tell you

Pete:no even if Tom does come and watch ever done

Dan:comp competition

Sidey:Yeah we're running a competition which was to do with our hundredth episode which was a review of they live I I asked you to tell us what score I awarded that movie which we all liked There's a hint so do that This competition will be running for another week or so something like that but we'll inform you on Twitter when it's closing anything else we need to say about it

Reegs:Where the they should tell us on Twitter shouldn't

Sidey:Yeah This is where we do all our chat on today

Dan:there you get to win an amazing prize I

Sidey:Yes It's It's painted face of the creature from the live It's bigger than that

Dan:Is it

Sidey:It's huge


Sidey:DMS. The answer we don't want. Don't go public. Don't out the answer. The world's not ready.

Dan:Um Time.