A review of the movie Cloud Atlas
by Kenneth Alexander Vazquez
I've always wanted to use the phrase "tour de force" when describing how good a movie is. However I can't bring myself to use the term on a film as grand and operatic as 'CLOUD ATLAS' for it would not do it justice.
The Wachowskis (Lana and Andy) and German director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) have achieved the unachievable by making a film based on a book which a lot of critics feel could never be
adapted into a feature. Based on the best selling novel by author David Mitchell, 'CLOUD ATLAS' is a sprawling and more than epic sci fi fantasy/drama/love story (yes, I consider it a love story) of cosmic proportions comprised of multiple interconnected narratives taking place on different time periods.
I'm not even going to attempt to tell anyone what THE PLOT is about for it would be a great disservice to this awesome film. A story of this scope has to be EXPERIENCED. I could share a plot summary which describes it as "an exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution" but even that sounds revealing.
This expansive saga is weaved in all It's complex and massive glory across locations and time periods such as early 19th century South Pacific, 1930s England, 1970s San Francisco, present day England, a futuristic Blade Runner like South Korea and primal post-apocalyptic islands. The photography for all these segments is gorgeous and truly a sight to behold. 'CLOUD ATLAS' is in my own opinion The Wachowskis best film since The Matrix Trilogy (which I love) and Tom Tykwer's most ambitious undertaking since his noir style thriller 'Perfume'.
Tom Hanks and Halle Berry deliver more than their share of powerful performances while taking on up to five or six different roles. Hanks has always been a chameleon of an actor and his compelling, absurd, romantic and heroic roles in this film are quite the spectacle. Berry impresses me with a range I've not seen her tap into.
There's too many amazingly gifted actors for me to break down in this review but well known ones as well as unknowns took on the challenge and performed beautifully. Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, James D'Arcy, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Doona Bae, Xun Zhou and David Gyasi are absolutely brilliant in all of their parts. All I have to say about Hugo Weaving is DAMN this guy is freakin awesome. A number of these roles are portrayed under heavy make up that some viewers may consider too extravagant or seamlessly adequate.
The critics are taking this film apart calling it one of the worst films of the year and adjectives too harsh for me to even type. I will admit that prose of this magnitude is better suited as an HBO mini series due to its episodic nature but the film complements the source.
'CLOUD ATLAS' has become my favorite movie of the year because it satisfies many of my film criteria gracefully. Maybe I will use "tour de force" to describe how cool this movie is to me and how connected EVERYTHING about it is to a few of us.