Cloud Atlas (2012)

Compelling. Creative. Complex. Contemplative. At times, confusing. The epic sci-fi film Cloud Atlas can be described in all of these ways. For nearly three hours, I watched this film from directors Tom Tyker, Lana and Lilly Wachowski and I was completely swept up into the majestic, mishmash mosaic.

A plot synopsis is defeating the purpose for Cloud Atlas. It covers six different stories from six different timelines, ranging from an 1800s ship to a futuristic yet primitive Hawaii. Each of the six tales have a shared link somewhere within, whether directly or subtly. This is a movie that demands your attention. Cloud Atlas is not a film that you can put on in the background and hope to understand what was happening. In fact, I am sure that there are thigs that even I missed and I was watching closely.

The film featured several actors playing multiple roles, led by Tom Hanks who played seven different characters. The range among Hanks’ characters was varied as possible as he was a horribly greedy doctor up to a man tormented by the voices in his head. The cast of actors playing multiple roles included Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, Bae Doona, Keith David, Ben Whishaw, Jim Sturgess, Zhao Xun, David Gyasi and Robert Fyfe.

Jim Broadbent stood out the most for me, especially as Timothy Cavendish. His expressive nature and facial expressions fit beautifully in with the movie was telling and he was, at many times, geniusly funny.

The narrative structure was unlike any film I have ever seen and its very nature will cause many people to be lost. Seeing the different stories all intertwined in the film was an amazing achievement in editing and direction. The soundtrack was a fantastic addition to the film and the use of the “Cloud Atlas” music piece was a rich moment from the story.

There were plenty of exciting and dramatic moments and several of intense hilarity as well. Easily my favorite moment in the film was when Tom Hanks’ character, author Dermot Hoggins took a book critic and tossed him off the roof of a building during a launch party.

Admittedly, I did have a bit of a struggle with the movie at the very beginning. I had trouble getting into the stories at first, but as the film progressed, I found myself engaged in every one and fascinated with the ideas and the acting presented by the talented cast. This feels like a film you would gather something new from after every subsequent viewings.

I had been extremely excited when I scheduled this movie among the Genre-ary Sci-Fi DailyView because it was a film that I had never seen, despite hearing about and I have usually enjoyed Tom Hanks films. This exceeded my expectations. I was not ready for the sweeping epic that Cloud Atlas was and was a masterpiece of technical and storytelling it truly is. It is my current favorite film among the Genre-ary. It may not be for everybody, but I found this to be exceptional.

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