Director(s): Andy/Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer
Cast Headliners: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry
Release Date: October 26th, 2012
To some, movies are simply a linear path that unfolds before the audience. There may be flashbacks or prologue/epilogue sequences, but usually the narrative structure of popular films When films break those bonds , they are thought of as hopefully "revolutionary." This can also be one's downfall. Cloud Atlas has been received by other critics as supposedly convoluted . It's weighty plot and structure is counterbalanced in many ways by the strength of the performances , pacing/editing, and visuals.
If each of the 6 separate time periods were taken apart, they could be released as their own movies. The editing of Cloud Atlas is great as there is a seamless blend of stories set across time and space. This may sound confusing, but it makes sense. Each moment of the stories unfolds in a logical sense (a few exceptions where things happen too fast). Mostly though, the varied adventures of these souls are intertwined. The tension keeps on ramping up as the story goes on, leading to a stellar and action packed finale. Of the stories, my favorite would have to be "sloosha's crossin" set in a strange far future. It reminded me of the Dark Tower, especially with Hugo Weaving's demon like Old Georgie character. This segment was done by the Wachowskis, as also the equally excellent and semi-Matrixish story of Sonmi in a futuristic South Korea. It must be noted that some complain of actors being made to look Asian, but in my opinion 100 years from now its very possible that races have blended together more than now.
Going along with its clever structure and pacing , it is fun to see the actors in different roles across the stories. Tom Hanks is a good guy as always, with a couple of exceptions such as the doctor in the 1846 segment. He shows his great acting range across his roles , and the different characters allow him to showcase a range of acting talent. Kudos also to Halle Berry who was passable. I also must mention Jim Broadbent during his time in 2012 in a surprisingly hilarious senior comedy. Few other movies involve the day being saved by angry soccer hooligans.
There are so many little parts to this film. The Wachowskis, and their comrade. have adapted this complex novel into a thrilling and visually great movie. Perhaps we are all just the same people born again and again for eternity. They included Buddhist themes in the Matrix so it would make sense they chose this project. The deeper preaching of this film are a minor thing that can be glanced over in favor of the smart enjoyable dialogue and great action set pieces. If by this point you seem interested, go see it. Fans of the Wachowski's other work would enjoy this film. Don't be afraid of how different Cloud Atlas is from other movies. It is a breathe of fresh air in this year of same ol- same ol. It has its flaws in its sometimes hokey makeup and some sequences being weaker than others, but they do not render this great film invalid. A great movie. From me, it gets a 8.8 out of 10