“Cloud Atlas” – A Review

BY Wendy Varela, Class of 2014 — 

Review for Cloud Atlas

    Directors took a leap of faith with this production! With its storyline twisting in and out of the present to the future and to the past, “Cloud Atlas” can easily be confusing for any viewer. Based on a novel written by English writer David Mitchell,  the film is directed by  Tom Tykwer along with co-directors Lana & Andy Wachowski.  Tykwer does a good job capturing his audience with the colorful and aesthetically eye pleasing scenes of the future and the past.

The film boasts a star studded -cast with Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon and Tom Hanks, each playing up to six characters each. Talk about reuse and recycle. This unconventional tactic usually found in plays and not in film, keeps the viewer anxious to see what characters Tom Hanks or the rest of the actors will embody in each scene.

The plot immediately intrigues; but with its smorgasbord of action and emotions, it leaves you with mixed feelings for the characters. The film follows the story of a lawyer (Jim Sturgess) in 1849 who is poisoned by a greedy doctor. The lawyer then writes a book that is read and obsessed over by a Scottish homosexual composer (Ben Whishaw) in 1936; his lover then becomes an elderly man (James D’Arcy) in 1975 and befriends a journalist (Halle Berry) who goes  on a journey to unravel crime and corruption in Politics. All makes sense until the film incorporates the story of an elderly editor (Jim Broadbent)  in present -day Europe and then jumps to Seoul in the year 2144 focusing on a young clone (Doona Bae) who has been freed by a rebel (Sturgess, yet again!). The gutsy film doesn’t end there; it then culminates its adventure with the story of lovers in a post-apocalyptic era played by Berry and Hanks.

At this point the film’s earlier suggestion that all of the vignettes are stories of 6 particular souls progressing through centuries and continents is lost. Nonetheless, every story is packed with emotion and can make even those with the toughest of hearts cry. Each story on its own could very well be a box office hit.  The connections from character to character, scene to scene and era to era are meticulously seamed in a way where you find an inexplicable pleasure at finding similarities from story to story. The soundtrack heightens all emotion in the film, which collides gracefully onto the screen.  The arc of each character is beautifully and explicitly expressed; unfortunately you don’t have much time to dwell on just one. Cloud Atlas deserves an Oscar simply because of it trail-blazing antics in its storyline.   Transitioning from past to present to future and from character to character, gender to gender (yes Halle Berry plays a man, Asian at that!) race to race and virtue to virtue is a feat that this film fabulously accomplishes. Perfect for a mini-escape from reality, Cloud Atlas is still in theaters!  Breaking the mold is a reoccurring theme throughout the story and it’s almost a given that this film will be remembered whether you hate it or love it.


One comment

  1. I feel that the six stories were chopped up and presented in parts just to disguise the fact that the individual stories were rather pedestrian. It’s a bit uneven at times, but still very entertaining to watch. Good review.

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