This is one of those experiences that defy explanation, one that you can feel but not understand, and each person will describe a different emotion that it evoked in them. I’ve read the book for Cloud Atlas, and it’s one of those rare gems that are difficult to grasp. If someone had asked me which book could never be adapted into a live-action film, I would have said Cloud Atlas right after Dune. Nonetheless, two adaptations of Frank Herbert’s Dune already exist, as does this film, an almost perfect adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas.
How to Download Cloud Atlas
You can download or stream the film from a digital platform. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice.
The Movie Review
The movie is made up of numerous storylines that all take place at various points in history, including the past, present, near, and distant futures. They are interspersed throughout the movie rather than told in order. This leaves the audience to grasp the pieces, and figure out or simply imagine why and what these narratives all have to do with one another. However, a lot of people will become dissatisfied because the movie doesn’t give you many hints as to what it all means for a while, yet those that truly understand the purpose of it will definitely find something to love here.
The movie had a lot of stuff I liked even if it was unclear and difficult to understand on the first viewing. This is definitely one of those films that you grow fond of on repeated viewings. All of the movie’s stars have various roles in the film, and you can find many of them in different stories.
This gives the performers a chance to showcase their acting skills, especially because they frequently have to play characters of the opposite gender or speak certain dialects. The majority of the cast members portray both men and women. If the acting and makeup were poor, this would never have succeeded, yet they absolutely shine in this movie. The incredible makeup makes this so believable that I mistook several of the female characters were female actors when they in fact weren’t.
I definitely started to get frustrated with all the stories here. Some of the stories were so gripping that it was terrible to watch only fragments of them. The filmmakers could have taken the typical anthology approach, in this case, it would have been much more compelling if got to see the entire plot unfold in one storyline before moving on to the next. The tales involving the replicant and the one in which Tom Hanks portrayed a gangster novelist were my favorites.
Speaking of Tom Hanks, let’s talk about the acting. In their various roles, all of the actors excel. Tom Hanks can make you pity him in one scene as a villager in a future Hawaii and disgust you in the next when he portrays a very depraved doctor. Doona Bae and Jim Broadbent, though, deliver the best performances.
They outperform the rest. Bae portrays a “fabricant” which is a type of clone created to help people. It is brilliantly and movingly expressed how she gradually comes to see her own self-worth and the oppression of both herself and her people. She plays this part heartbreakingly. Broadbent is just as good as Cavendish, the publisher. He’s amusing, and his expressive and wide-eyed face is perfect for dark comedy.
There’s a reason why this film features three different directors, Lily and Lana Wachowski along with Tom Wyker work on creating so many stories and linking them together. The visual language of this film is breathtaking at times, and at times it feels bland to a fault. This is due to the fact it features three different directors, each with their own visual vision. However, when it comes to the music, Cloud Atlas’ soundtrack is quite ordinary if I’m being modest. It doesn’t add much to the plot, and the long run-time of 3 hours can see multiple tracks being played on repetition.
Overall, Cloud Atlas is a unique viewing experience. It’s a journey that will take you to unexpected locations through different times and through the eyes of different kinds of people. Let yourself go instead of trying to comprehend it, and you’ll discover that you understand more than what you expected.
It might have a non-linear story that might be annoying for casual audiences, but by all means, see Cloud Atlas if you want to have a unique experience.
- A fantastic set of stories
- Phenomenal performances by the whole ensemble cast in various roles
- Visually profound, but lacks consistency
- A truly unique film
- The film requires patience for its 3-hour run time
- The soundtrack isn’t too appealing
- It can get messy and confusing on the first viewing