Cloud Atlas

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Cloud Atlas

One Line Review:

A huge, fantastic movie, that somehow fails to be interesting.

Cast:

Tom Hanks
Halle Berry
Jim Broadbent
Hugo Weaving
Jim Sturgess
Doona Bae
Ben Whishaw
Hugh Grant
Keith David
Susan Sarandon

Synopsis:

An ensemble multi-roling cast, in a story that shows the actions of many people over time from the long past, into the present and into the far future.

Overview:

This is the hardest film to review I’ve watched since I started reviewing films. On one hand it’s a fantastic looking film, featuring probably some of the best performances this year. However, the constant flipping between stories can be confusing and leave you disinterested in certain stories. Ok, so I’m going to do a similar thing to what I did with Movie 43 and break the film down, all whilst attempting to remain spoiler free.

1849 on board a boat heading for San Francisco.
A doctor slowly poisons a lawyer who holds a chest full of gold, the lawyer befriends a black slave during his voyage. This part was very slow and very much the same thing over and over again, until it concludes, no spoilers.

1936 England.
A young musician becomes a famous composer’s apprentice and together they write a masterpiece piece of music called “The Cloud Atlas Sextet”. This was a good section, it manages to keep you interested in what might happen and shocks you when it concludes. He reads a journal written by the lawyer on the boat and writes to an acquaintance in London.

1973 San Francisco
A journalist crosses paths with the now older acquaintance of the young musician from the previous story. He gets her to help expose the dangers of a company using nuclear energy. This was also an interesting one, for the most part, and could have been a very good film on its own. During the story the journalist listens to the “Cloud Atlas Sextet”.

2012 England
A 65 year old publisher is in trouble when his mobster client gets imprisoned, and his gang wants to collect his share of the book profits. He asks his brother for help, who tricks him into getting commuted to an old persons home which he must then attempt to escape. Afterwards he writes his story into a screenplay.
Unfortunately that’s a lot of the plot for that particular story, and it’s unfortunate because it’s my favorite. It’s the comedic relief story, including a good reference to Soylent Green.

2144 Korea
A genetically created clone slave is interrogated after a member of a rebel alliance frees her and shows her the truth behind her kind.
This story started out pretty good with the clones, then a middle section when they are on the run was boring, but the conclusion brought it back up to being really good. The clone watches the movie adaptation of the screenplay written by the publisher.

2321 “The Island”
A primitive village of humans, who worship an image of the freed Korean clone slave, are at war with another savage primitive village. They find aid in a member of a society who still holds technology. Similar to the previous one, it has very tedious and boring bits, but ends really well.

I felt that because of the stories all being told over the top of each other, it was difficult to get too emotionally connected to characters. Now I’m no movie director (or novel writer, as it’s based on a novel) but i would have played the film exactly as it is, just in the chronological order, I explain above. That said however, there isn’t a poor performance in the entire thing. Hanks is infallible, Halle Berry is actually really good (i say this because Storm and Catwoman clearly weren’t her best work, but here she is great), Jim Broadbent and Hugo Weaving are the same as Hanks, always a pleasure. Ben Whishaw straight from Skyfall as Q, here similarly very good, and it’s nice to see Hugh Grant in a non-chick-flick.

Recommend: Despite what I might have said above, yes. It’s definitely worth a watch to make your own opinion.
Overall: 7/10

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