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Movie Review
Cloud Atlas
Rating :
Hero :
Tom hanks
Heroine :
Other Cast :
Halle Berry Jim Broadbent Hugo Weaving Jim Sturgess Bae Doona Ben Whishaw James D'Arcy Zhou Xun Keith David David Gyasi Susan Sarandon Hugh Grant
Director :
Wachowski Brothers
Music Director :
Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek ,Tom Tykwer
Producer :
Wachowski Brothers
Release Date :
Based on a perusal of reviews for Cloud Atlas, one might be convinced that the sprawling, ambitious, epic adaptation of David Mitchell's 2004 novel is either a masterpiece or an unmitigated disaster. The reality is somewhere in between. It's hard to argue that Cloud Atlas isn't too long - discounting the credits, it clocks in at around 160 minutes - and that its rambling structure can result in an emotional disconnect with the material. But there are some amazing sequences and the film's visual style is powerful. They key to successfully absorbing the movie may be in not trying to overthink what's on screen. Decoding the thin strands that connect stories to each other is a journey better embarked upon by those watching it for a second or third time.

Cloud Atlas is not, in short, a novel that easily lends itself to cinematic adaptation. Among its many pleasures is the ease with which Mitchell slips from one authorial voice to the next, channeling Melville here and Huxley there, Evelyn Waugh and James Ellroy and Kingsley Amis and Anthony Burgess.

Tykwer and the Wachowskis, however, chop Mitchell's half-dozen stories into vastly thinner slices, ranging from perhaps 10 minutes apiece to mere seconds, and then splice them all together. And while this keeps the disparate tales moving along, it also homogenizes them. No individual voice has time to take hold—and, indeed, if any did, it would likely cause whiplash at the movie's next narrative lurch. Further undermining the impact of each story is the compression and simplification required to squeeze Mitchell's work from miniseries length (now that would have been an idea) into the confines of a feature film, even one that clocks in at an ample 165 minutes.

The Tom Hanks/Halle Berry far, far future Apocalypto style story is a crushing bore, while the Amadeus story featuring a spoiled, young British Composer (James D’Arcy) who matches wit and talent with his would be mentor (Played by Tom Hanks) fall a bit short. While there are a lot of stories to keep track of, all of the actors brought their A-Games in each of their various roles. Tom Hanks does an adequate job here but he is overshadowed by both Halle Berry’s various incarnations and Jim Broadbent who does Oscar caliber work. For the most part, this movie features large cast of “likable” but “forgettable” characters. Cloud Atlas is not as preachy as one expects from the Ws. Its themes of loving one another and taking responsibility for each others lives throughout the ages, is surprisingly, radically, toned down and actually makes a semblance of sense.

The project is defiantly inaccessible and unpredictable, and isn’t afraid to risk polarizing audiences. Yet Cloud Atlas isn’t different merely for the sake of being different. Rather, it’s a bold and challenging film that leaves itself open for interpretation, and that’s a good thing.
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