VISIT OFFICIAL SITE
1. Every Tom Hanks character
2. Fast-paced thrills
3. Witty/subtle humor
1. Tough to understand after only one viewing
2. Didn't have time to explain details on certain plot points
3. About 30 minutes too long
'CLOUD ATLAS': SIX TIMES THE STORY, SIX TIMES THE EXCITEMENT
An actual atlas would be helpful to try and navigate the ambitiously interwoven plot and characters in the film adaption of the novel “Cloud Atlas." Some of us who have not read David Mitchell’s 2004 fiction will definitely be lost in the transition between the six short stories in this film.
Director Tom Tykwer shattered traditional timeline narrative with “Run Lola Run” in 1998, and now he’s teaming up with the visionaries behind the Matrix to blow our minds yet again.
Questioning destiny and reality is second nature to co-directors Andy and Lana Wachowski but this time no spoon analogies are provided to offer an explanation.
“Cloud Atlas” contains six seemingly different stories, each set in a very different time and place.
I could pretend to be deeply intellectual and dive into the motifs and freedom themes of the film but instead I’m going to give you an accurate account of my viewing experience.
I had no idea what was going on for the first 10 minutes.
Unlike the book, the film cuts from story to story constantly and it’s hard to handle at first. Eventually you get a solid grasp of who is who and what’s going on, and then the fun starts.
This is a genuinely fascinating movie with stunning visuals and interesting ideas.
The most exciting thing about this movie is that it pays no attention to race, gender or age when casting characters. Each actor plays multiple roles, with the principals appearing in every storyline.
Reincarnation is suggested so it makes sense that the same people are reused in the stories. Not only is this necessary to the idea that everyone is connected but it also helps bring personality and feeling to the different individual characters.
In some cases the makeup is so impressive that it becomes a game to try and figure out which actor is playing which character.
It’s going to be hard to watch Hugh Grant in “Bridget Jones’s Diary” after watching him play a blood thirsty cannibal.
In what could have quickly turned into a "Jack and Jill" situation, it's a relief to say that all of the actors pull off their performances with impressive skill. Tom Hanks, however, outshines them all. His ability to seamlessly shifting from one extreme situation to another is remarkable.
Hanks' most touching performance is that of a tribesman living in post-apocalyptic future.
He speaks a primitive language that’s difficult to understand at first, but like the rest of “Cloud Atlas” you start to understand without realizing how.
The six stories are somehow connected but this fact is more obvious in feeling than explanation. The characters and situations seem similar but when you’re already working this hard to follow along you're going to miss a lot of the details.
“Cloud Atlas” is graphically violent at times, but the most disturbing moments come from the mistreatment of the characters.
If the children that see this movie aren’t scarred by the violence, they’ll be punished with boredom and confusion. This is not a movie for kids.
172 minutes is long for any film, but one this dense is almost physically exhausting. Despite the multiple storylines the pacing is excellent. Near the end, you can feel the fatigue setting in but you'll still be invested in the story that the filmmakers have woven.
To get into the individual characters and storylines would just confuse you here. The movie is best experienced in the way the filmmakers intended.
It may take a while to figure out what is going on, but when you do there’s an interesting sense of accomplishment that can only come with learning.
Long story short, if you plan on grabbing a cup of coffee and dissecting the paralleled themes and character shifts after the film, you have found your Saturday afternoon.
If you’re just a Halle Berry fan looking for a visually stunning action film, stay home and rent “X-Men."
It is work trying to follow and understand "Cloud Atlas," but if you're willing to put in the effort the payoff is more than satisfactory.