This is one of the first movies I can think of where the filmmakers
show amazing ability to keep you paying attention for three hours to
I could attempt to tell you the plot of Cloud Atlas, but it
to have a plot for me to be able to convey it to you. In basic terms,
directors/writers Tom Twyker, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski (based
on the novel by David Mitchell) show us the journey of souls through
time constantly drawn together to fight evil and those who abuse power
in six separate stories (played by Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, Jim
Broadbent, Jim Sturgess and more). After that, you are on your own to
figure this out.
stinks, but it is some high energy, beautiful looking stinker.
On the one hand, Twyker and The Wachowskis make a visually arresting
movie. You can't stop looking no matter how incomprehensible the film
might be, even during one vignette as characters in the future speak
some sort of mangled English that makes it hard for the audience to
know exactly who is who.
Plus, the pacing is fantastic. Each story segues to the next at just
the right time before you get bored, you just wish it was a meaningful
segue that connected everything somehow.
Sadly, none of the stories in Cloud
Atlas get into enough detail and
need more context. Too many of them are full of characters we can't
explain and understand or figure out their motives and backgrounds.
And, Twyker and The Wachowskis try to throw in plenty of laughs, but
not always for the right effect. We need to feel the weight of these
monumental struggles, but the laughable moments (intentional and
non-intentional) ruin the mood more than half the time.
Finally, with a cast of actors playing multiple roles (which must have
been the attraction for Hanks and the team), it puts the onus on the
makeup and costume crew to make them into a series of different
character, but we end up with mixed results. Some of the makeup is
outright amateurish and makes you think these people are the losers in
a Halloween costume contest at your local mall. For all of the money
being put into special effects and actor salaries, did the production
need to hire a bunch of interns to apply second rate prosthetics that
is the biggest disappointment of the year for me.
Atlas is rated R for violence, language, sexuality/nudity and some drug