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Cloud Atlas by Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek & Reinhold Heil (Review)

posted Jan 4, 2013, 5:04 PM by Koray Savas   [ updated Jan 18, 2013, 9:00 AM by Kaya Savas ]


The Wachowski siblings and Tom Tykwer share one important aspect as unique filmmakers: their films both contain a primary focus on audiovisual orgasm. The notion may sound crude, but the essence of filmmaking is finding that ebb and flow between the image and the music. Andy and Lana Wachowski's The Matrix and its subsequent sequels, along with the criminally underrated Speed Racer, all display this rare filmmaking talent. Tykwer's Run Lola Run exudes this as well; and all are contemporary classics in their own right. So when the trio join forces to bring a tour-de-force three hour epic in the form of Cloud Atlas, one can expect great things.

Instead of bringing back Don Davis to the realm of Hollywood, or continuing their collaboration with Michael Giacchino, the Wachowskis let Tom Tykwer tackle composing the score with his team from Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer. This trio, which consists of Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, and Reinhold Heil, provide a superb hybrid of traditional symphonic score and more atmospheric undertones that you'd be more than likely to find in today's average blockbuster. "Prelude: The Atlas March" kicks off the score with a wonderful piece for piano that echoes the overarching theme of this journey. From there things move from the whimsical ("Travel To Edinburgh"), to the dark ("Papa Song"), and ultimately back up to wonder and embrace ("All Boundaries Are Conventions" and "Cloud Atlas Finale"), all the while maintaining an air of somber longing within each note. This is really quite a beautiful score, even in its heavier moments such as "Catacombs" and "Adieu." It is all very structured and has a clear rise and fall, though it does not feel calculated but rather natural. In the end, we return to that march in "Cloud Atlas End Title" which sends us off with fond memories of everything that came before.

Cloud Atlas is probably the most ambitious film made this decade, and by that I mean from 2010 onward. How do we show our love of filmmakers stepping outside the proverbial box? By letting their movies bomb at the box office, of course! Well, if you missed this one in theaters like so many others, at least check out the wonderful score. If you are at all a fan and believer in the true power of a symphony orchestra, there is plenty for you to love here.