Written by Guillermo Troncoso.
Cloud Atlas is based on the 2004 novel by David Mitchell. It consists of six interconnected stories that take place in different parts of the world and in different time periods. The stories range from a voyage across the pacific in 1850, to the tale of a tribe living in a post-apocalyptic future.
This is a big film. The amount of work needed to bring these stories to the big screen is nothing short of impressive. Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski have written and directed a highly ambitious film that mostly delivers.
This is the type of film that you sense is good, even amazing, but you can’t quite connect to it on a fully satisfying level. The main issue is the overall scale. The scope of the film is so big and there is so much going on at any given moment that the grand ideas are often lost amongst the impressive visuals. I haven’t read the novel but I assume that the overall messages of reincarnation and the interconnectedness of time would be better delivered in literature form.
Although the film nearly hits the three-hour mark, we don’t really get enough time with each narrative to feel much of an impact from any of them. I usually wouldn’t say this for a movie with this sort-of running time, but maybe a longer version is needed? It’s safe to assume that the studios wouldn’t allow for a much longer movie.
Each story is beautifully told. Tom, Andy and Lana have crafted some incredible sequences, you can see the love and thought that has gone into the entire production. On a technical level the film stands high. The special effects are top-notch, convincingly serving the story instead of being used solely for eye-candy.
The cast all rise to the occasion quite wonderfully. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Ben Winshaw and many more are all used to play roles throughout the six stories. This doesn’t always work but for the most part these actors demonstrate their versatility and deliver some great performances.
Cloud Atlas doesn’t quite work on every level but it certainly deserves credit for what it does right. The visuals are fantastic, the music is beautiful and the actors are all excellent. It’s a spectacle that offers adults a bit of everything. It’s violent, funny, dramatic and even poetic. The themes may not translate as well as they should and many will be left feeling a little unfulfilled, but the journey is still one that needs to be taken.
THE REEL SCORE: 7/10