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Cloud Atlas (2012) Movie Review

October 28, 2012

“Cloud Atlas” promises many things in the trailer: meaning, emotion, and an epic story. Much of this expectation comes from the directors’ prior works. The Wachowskis (The Matrix Trilogy) and Tom Tykwer (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Run Lola Run) have each directed visionary films in the past. You will not understand much of anything for the first 30 minutes until the stories start to weave together and you notice the connections. Despite its lofty goal, much is missing from the film. It draws the audience along with hopes of a powerful conclusion but comes up short. Perhaps the film would make more sense after a second viewing or an extended cut, but most viewers aren’t going to give it that chance.

Even considering its shortcomings, there are a lot of things that make “Cloud Atlas” worth viewing. The visuals of the film are a delight to behold as you take in the various time periods, each with a unique look. Even more spectacular is how each of the actors in the film takes on multiple personas. The bigger names take on six different roles, each significantly different yet subtly similar. Though you will likely recognize most of the roles of each actor there are one or two in which they are so drastically transformed that you won’t notice them until the movie shows you all the characters in the end credits. Sadly, a few of these are shown for such a short time that you likely won’t notice them. Clearly there is a much more detailed story that can’t be told in the film’s 3 hour run-time.

The acting portrayed on screen by Tom Hanks, Halle Barry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, and Ben Wishsaw, among others, is astounding. Though much of their transformation is the work of expert makeup or perhaps CGI, the voices of the characters are also significantly different. The music in the film, by Tom Tykwer, Johnny Kilmek and Reinhold Heil, helps set the mood of the film. The main theme is used beautifully in many forms and will stick with viewers long after the film.

If you were enthralled by the trailers, you will find a fantastic combination of stories to behold in “Cloud Atlas.” Though it fails to soar to masterful heights, its imagery and characters are likely to stick with you for some time after you leave the theater. Despite the questions left unanswered, many will appreciate how the film leaves it to viewers to interpret the story in their own way.

4/5

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From → Epic

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