July 17, 2014
Bottom line: A magnificent example of cinematic enchantment.
Since the release of “Cloud Atlas” in 2012, many critics have tried to dissect the film, but like any elegant piece of art, the true experience is original to the viewer. For me, I knew I would want to watch this one multiple times, and I was right.
After several viewings it became clear to me it would take forever to understand the film by its individual parts, which is why many critics are not praising the film but others won’t stop talking about it. Many people search through a movie for hidden meanings or content they can relate to other pieces of work, but this is truly a masterpiece in its own right.
Even so, “Cloud Atlas” wants us to find a meaning in the pile of overbearing rhetoric. Six stories overlap each other between 1849 and 2346, where the actors play several different roles and genders within each story. The fact that they do so is creatively charming because each story seems to recycle the previous but with a different thrill and unique tone setting it apart.
The makeup and acting is so well done it’s difficult to differentiate the actors from one another. If you have questioned the quality of Halle Berry’s brand before, this will change how you see the dynamic actress. Tom Hanks once again proves he is one of the best screen actors the world has ever seen, and we are reminded how effective Hugo Weaving can be with flawless writing and acting support.
Based on David Mitchell’s novel of the same name, “Cloud Atlas” makes one thing clear, there is a echoing concept that our lives are all connected by the desire for liberation. The narrative is complex, told in order but then cycled backward. It can prove to be burdensome for many, but the immense scope and gravity of the film cannot be avoided.
Upon my first viewing, I tried to understand what was going on throughout each story individually, but it’s impossible the first time around. By the end, I was just in awe of how a movie like this can impact someone, which is a testament to the dreamlike quality the world of film can produce.
This was a huge risk for the directors, and their leap to create a movie with such a frenzied narrative is a treat for anyone willing to take the time to appreciate their efforts.
Even when I watched it for a third viewing, there were times I was frustrated because I couldn’t figure out everything, but that just means I was never bored. After a while I just end up sitting back and soaking it all up as it is; a natural and artistic treasure.
Fun fact: With a budget of more than $100,000,000, Cloud Atlas is one of the most expensive independent films to date, and is of the few films in history that has three directors working together as an original team who equally share directing credit.
Run time: 172 min.
MPAA rating: R
Rotten Tomatoes: 66 percent