This started out as a trailer post, but the trailer was apparently leaked and Warner Bros. has taken it down. But still - pretty pictures! And I'll leave my commentary about the trailer below, just so you can read my impressions.
Update: The U.S. trailer is now live! Watch it at Apple.
David Mitchell's 2004 novel Cloud Atlas is one of my absolute favorites. It's an unusual, poetic, deep-reaching book that spans generations and continents to tell the same story: that of the powerful preying on the weak, and the beauty of a human connection that thrives in any circumstance.
The novel offers six narrative threads that remain unfinished until a structural "mirror" turns the stories on themselves so they are concluded in the latter third of the novel. The story follows an American businessman traveling home from work in New Zealand at the end of the 19th century, a young British musician working on a composition called The Cloud Atlas Sextet and writing letters to his lover in 1931, an investigative journalist writing a corruption story forty years later, a present day publisher trapped in a nursing home, a cloned diner waitress on trial for execution in the near future and a tribesman living in the distant, post-apocalyptic future, visited by a member of a fading civilization light-years ahead of ours. All of the protagonists are reading or watching the story of the character that came before theirs, by journal or letters or hologram. It's elegantly contrived, and long thought unfilmable.
I'm telling you all of that because the trailer - a stunning, magnificent trailer - makes sense to me as my brain quickly fills in the blanks with what I know from having read the book. I am on fire to see this movie now; I can't think of another film that I'm anticipating more. We get a glimpse of a couple of the transitions they'll use between narratives, and I imagine they will be extraordinary. But I wonder how this movie will work for those who haven't read the book. Will they be able to follow the wildly complex structure? I'd like to believe that the Wachowskis and co-writer/director Tom Tykwer have made this accessible to anyone, but that seems incredibly difficult.
Well, there's an easy fix. Read the book. You have time - the movie doesn't come out until October 26. It's a staggering achievement, and you should read it just because it's terrific. But if you're looking forward to the film, that's even more enticement. I'm going to re-read it; simply holding it in my hand a few minutes ago in order to write the above summary gave me that familiar yearning feeling of, "I need to read this book again immediately."
Some images from the film below. You can see more at the link.