Cloud Atlas is one of my favorite books of all time. When I found out that a movie adaptation was being made based on it, I was a little nervous, but mostly very excited - especially when I saw the cast that had been assembled included one of my favorite actors, Ben Whishaw.
Now the first images of Cloud Atlas have been released as the press campaign for its October 26 release gets underway. The film does look as if it has captured some of the essence of the novel, but there is one element that leaves me really saddened.
The novel, written by David Mitchell, tells 6 different stories, with a sort of vague insinuation that the protagonists of each story are somehow linked through reincarnation. It is never really spelled out completely, but by the end of the book it leaves one really thinking about how we are all connected.
I undertand that since film is a visual medium, the filmmakers have decided to do away with the subtlety of the reincarnation plot - opting to have the same actors play multiple roles throughout the movie. However, if you’ve read the book, you’ll understand how it doesn’t really make sense for Tom Hanks to play Henry Goose and then the scientist from the Luisa Rey section of the novel. If you’re going to hint at the rebirth of these characters, at least make sense about it.
But that’s not really the awful part. The awful part is the blatant, disgusting use of brown face and yellow face in this movie. I do believe that there are many things that can be justified in the name of art, but this is not one of tem. With the already inconsistent use of the actors throughout all of the stories, I fail to see why it looks like at least three of the white actors in the film have had their eyes slanted to look like South Koreans in the Sonmi section of the story. Not only is it offensive, it is completely unnecessary.
I’ve been highly excited about this movie for about two years, and now I just feel like the entire project, which looks promising, has been tainted. What’s even more worrying is a)no one involved with the production realized the yellowface was wrong and b) no one seems to be saying anything about it since the release of the trailer.
What are your thoughts?