The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Wachowski-written movie contains plot spanning centuries
By , Staff Reporter
Published: October 31 2012
There are movies that you will remember for a long time. These movies will make you think and make you rewatch them over and over again to fully understand their true message. Cloud Atlas is one of those films.
Cloud Atlas is a film adaptation of the novel by the same name by David Mitchell. It is directed by Tom Tywker (Run, Lola Run) and Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix trilogy, Speed Racer.)
It stars Tom Hanks, Halle Barry, Jim Broadbent, Ben Whishaw, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Doona Bae and Keith David (with brief appearances from Hugh Grant and Susan Sarandon).
Cloud Atlas connects six intertwining stories that span over 500 years and is a story about how two lives affect each other in the past, present and future.
This is the first film from the Wachowskis since Speed Racer in 2008, which received mixed reviews from critics and was ultimately a bomb in the box office.
Ever since its nearly six-minute trailer was released in August, Cloud Atlas has become one of the most anticipated films of the year.
When it debuted at the Toronto Film Festival in September, it received a 10-minute standing ovation from the audience who attended. But as it went through other film festivals, the reception was extremely mixed. There were those who praised it and gave it ovations, along with those who booed the film and walked out.
Both praise and criticism of this film are understandable, and while Cloud Atlas is certainly ambitious and isn’t afraid to touch on new ground, the film itself is a mess, with its storyline jumping around spontaneously without any sense of direction.
Much like Pulp Fiction and 21 Grams, Cloud Atlas uses a non-linear storyline, telling stories from multiple points of views.
This type of storytelling can be confusing to viewers because all the bouncing around can make it difficult to keep focused.
Cloud Atlas tries to pull off the non-linear storyline, but it ultimately fails. There is little to no transition in between storylines. One moment you’re watching one storyline, and then a couple minutes later you’re watching another. This film would have been more effective if each story was told one at a time without the jumps.
But once you get past the time jumps, Cloud Atlas is a film that can be truly enjoyed.
A unique feature of Cloud Atlas is that its actors play multiple roles throughout the film, Tom Hanks, for example, plays six completely different characters, ranging from a foul-mouthed Irishman gangster to an American doctor in the 1970s.
Film critic Roger Ebert best describes Cloud Atlas in his review for the film, “Even as I was watching Cloud Atlas the first time, I knew I would need to see it again. Now that I’ve seen it the second time, I know I’d like to see it a third… I was never, ever bored by Cloud Atlas,” wrote Ebert.
If you’re a fan of the book, or just love science-fiction, you cannot go wrong with Cloud Atlas. Sure, it has its flaws, but its story is too good to miss. Watching this story that transcends over five centuries is mesmerizing.
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