The Long View
"I think I have fallen in love with Luisa Rey. Is this possible?
I just met her and yet I feel like something very important
has happened to me." - Isaac Sachs, 1973
As the consequences of such choices play out through eternity, individual
expand into the larger arcs that define a life.
"I start out as a native woman who has little power, then Jocasta, who is really
a shell of a
person, with no voice," says Berry. "Then there's Luisa Rey, who's struggling
hard to find her
voice and her strength. I have a moment in the Cavendish story as a mysterious
party guest, and
we don't know much about her other than her confident air, but in the next life
I portray a doctor,
Ovid, working on the right side of the moral balance, so that by the time we
arrive at Meronym
you see in her the culmination of this journey and why she's so strong."
Similarly, Keith David's characters run the gamut from slave to leader. And when
Sturgess appears as Ewing he makes his decisions instinctively as a man
comprehend the meaning of justice, but those ideas are more precisely formed by
the time that
soul has evolved into the freedom fighter Chang, as "Cloud Atlas" acknowledges
endless and universal yearning for self-determination.
"If all my roles were to have a theme, it would be about working within
don't like and wish they could change," states James D'Arcy, whose characters
employed by a corrupt power company, a horrible nursing home and a repressive
"But my last incarnation is the Archivist, and even though he's technically part
of the oppression
he finally takes a stand, so there's hope for that soul."
Because of the way the filmmakers deconstructed the novel for the screen, Andy
Wachowski says, "You see a moment where Autua is in danger of being shot as he
the ship's rigging, and then a similar point where Sonmi is nearly killed while
breaking out of
prison. If you were to sandwich these moments on top of each other you see the
the turning points."
"I lost count of the number of ways the directors made one scene fit with the
thousand miles or several centuries away," adds David Mitchell. "It may be a
visual link, or a
single word, or in the architecture, or an actor's face. But the effect is that
of a single, ingenious
mosaic, glinting across time." Offering another example where Chang fires a
weapon at his
pursuers during a chase with Sonmi above the Neo Seoul skyline, the author says,
ends with a glass wall, cracking, and the next begins with a crack spreading
windscreen of Luisa Rey's VW, as it plunges under the waters of San Francisco
Ricocheting through time also alters the concept of loss. When lovers are torn
one era, Tykwer notes, "We have the possibility of cutting to the same actors
bringing a happy ending to a moment that seemingly ended in heartbreak."
Meanwhile, running throughout the story is the idea of creative expression, and
leaving behind what Tykwer calls "a legacy, in the form of art that will then
serve to influence
someone else." The chronicle of Adam Ewing's 1849 sea voyage becomes a published
that Frobisher reads in 1936. Frobisher's letters subsequently fall into the
hands of Luisa Rey in
1973, and Luisa's story about the plot at the nuclear power plant then becomes
the manuscript of
a book, submitted to publisher Cavendish. Cavendish's modern-day adventure
subject of a film that Sonmi watches in 2144, and Sonmi's declaration of freedom
and remembered until, even in a society that has lost its books and technology,
her catechism is
revered by Zachry and his tribe into the 24th century.
Similarly, power and powerlessness recur as one of mankind's most persistent
Hanks' basest character, 1849's Dr. Goose, justifies his thievery and disregard
for human life
early on by declaring, "The weak are meat, the strong do eat," and, lifetimes
later, his soul still
grapples with that concept-as do others, from both sides of the equation.
But while some people never learn, others make huge strides, a joyful course
most apparent in Hanks' full range of characterizations, from the vile Goose
through to Zachry.
Still, vestiges of the past remain.
"A moment arises where Zachry is forced into a situation where he can be violent
Tykwer describes. "He has his knife at the throat of a Kona warrior, and Tom is
amazing actor that you can see on his face those earlier characters overlaid in
Zachry. It's the
force of that old killer, Goose, somewhere deep in his genes. Although he's a
now, Goose would not have hesitated."
In outlining this path for the Zachry soul, Lana says, "We were simultaneously
this concept, which became one of the meta-narratives of the film: how a person
can go from the
worst of us to the best. All these people can remain in a narcissistic,
life, or they can change. So we wanted to start with a character that was a pure
and trace his progress upwards until he becomes potentially the comet hero."
Often that evolution is triggered by love, illustrated by the interlocking
nature of Hanks'
and Berry's roles. Lana continues, "When Luisa Rey meets Isaac Sachs at the
power plant he's
in the middle of his journey-not a bad guy, but still working for this evil
organization. But he
falls in love with her and that literally changes his direction."
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