After it’s less-than-$10-million opening, Cloud Atlas will most surely be trashed in your daily paper, your evening TV report, or your MSN.com homepage. Why? People are lazy. The fact is, Cloud Atlas aims to be large and grand, and audiences don’t leap for intelligent films. They discover them over time, but being brave has no place in Hollywood. It’s worked only a handful of times, and even films like Inception may not have taken off if Christopher Nolan wasn’t at the fully-realized peak of his potential in 2010.
Films like Vanilla Sky are never understood during their opening, and Cloud Atlas won’t be, either.
Luckily for you – the audience – the film has its moments.
Here are the Top 5 Reasons to watch Cloud Atlas, when you can. (*You don’t need to pay the $20 it costs for an UltraAVX ticket, though. Totally not worth it.)
1. Hugh Grant
He appears in a generous eight minutes of the film, but he’s the evilest character every time the camera’s on him. Whether it’s as an Apocalypto-like native warrior who kills for the fun of it, or as a slave owner in the Pacific Islands, or as an owner of a global oil company who says things like, “If all journalists looked like you, I’d take this Women’s Lib thing more seriously,” Hugh Grant is Cloud Atlas‘s resident badass.
Hugh Grant has said he hates acting, but that he does it for a pay cheque. It’s a good bet that he had fun with this one.
2. Tom Hanks’s Different-But-Identical Accents
You will be impressed by Mr. Hanks’s performance(s) in Cloud Atlas. You just will. He plays anywhere from four-to-five parts. And yet, he only appears as himself… once. That would be his role as a scientist in 1970’s San Francisco.
Hanks was noted for his bizarre Irish accent, which he used to play a thug-life biographer turned murderer and then used violently on Good Morning America. Hanks also played an evil Caribbean doctor, a hotel owner in London, and a Mad Max-like survivor in the future.
All come from different lands and eras. All sound the same.
That said, who wouldn’t want to say “Crawwwwwwwwwwfish” over and over?
3. Halle Berry
And, she caused Hugh Grant to whisper that beautiful line from Reason #1.
4. Ben Whishaw
Whishaw is slowly and surely becoming the next greatest British film star. His acting ability has the range of perhaps nobody else in Hollywood. He’s also playing Q in the new Bond film, Skyfall, and his role as Freddie in The Hour returns to the BBC next month, in November.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome Ben Whishaw to your homes.
5. It’s From a Book
Like countless others before it, Cloud Atlas is a movie that comes from an almost-unfilmable book. The Rum Diary. That’s another. Eat, Pray, Love, if you must. Sometimes, what you have on paper doesn’t translate to pixels or theatres.
While Atlas certainly doesn’t disappoint, there’s a comfort in knowing one thing: if you want more of it, it’s available at Barnes & Noble.