Film Review: “Cloud Atlas” (novel adapted to film)
Film: Cloud Atlas
Review: I grew up watching Sci-fi/Fantasy movies, so the premise of most science fiction films is not that foreign to me. What was foreign was the amount of stories the director and writer expected me to follow in a 3 hour time span. It was a lot to take in. I’m pretty sure if I had read the book prior to seeing the film I would have been better prepared for the sensory overload. There are a total of six separate stories that the audience must follow. The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing – 1850, Letters from Zedelghem – 1931, Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery – 1975, The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish – 2012, An Orison of Sonmi – 2144, Sloosha’s Crossin’an’ Ev’rythin’ After – post-apocalyptic distant future. Although each story has it’s own individual plot the core of each story is reincarnation, we’re all directly connected “from womb to tomb our lives are not our own”. It was a challenge at times for me to grasp the whole reincarnation notion, since my faith teaches me otherwise. However, I’m always game to see someone else’s idea on the afterlife. This movie visually was stunning! When the storylines got a bit foggy, I found myself zoning out admiring the visuals particularly when it came to the scenes involving Neo Seoul -2144. The colors were so vivid it was almost like I could reach out touch them. Especially during the scene involving the fast food restaurant.
One of the frustrating parts about the movie was how quickly is moved. At times I thought I was watching a theatrical ping-pong match. The film bounced around too much. Once you got locked into one story-line it would flip and show another story. It was hard to follow at times. When I could follow the movie there were some beautifully written dialogue. The kind of dialogue that great movies are known for. I thought the acting was well done by both Halle Berry and Tom Hanks. They both played several characters and although their facial features were disguised, they were still recognizable behind all the makeup and prosthetics. Speaking of makeup, kudos to the makeup department. The physical transformation in all the characters was impressive. The standout actor for me was the insanely talented Jim Boardent who played Captain Molyneux/Vyvyan Ayrs/Timothy Cavendish/Korean Musician/Prescient. It was his role as Timothy Cavendish that really captivated me. The 65-year-old vanity press publisher who was trying to escape his attackers and is confined to a nursing home against his own will. He concocts a plan to free himself along with three other elderly residents. It was the only light-hearted scene in the entire film.
The length of the movie is a bit of an issue. I attended a 5:30pm showing and the movie ended at 8:30pm. If you do decide to see this film I would definitely recommend seeing it on lazy Saturday afternoon. It’s a toss-up for me if I would recommend this film to others not because I didn’t enjoy the film but because most people I know don’t want to sit through a 3 hour movie.
Setting aside the length of the movie and the quick-moving storyline, I still really enjoyed this film! There are times when I like to be challenged when watching a film and this movie definitely fit the bill. For those of you who lack interest in science fiction films painted with reincarnation and adventure well there’s always Anna Karenina which will be in Theatres November 17th!
Best line in the movie: “My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?”
The opinions about this film are my own honest opinions. My opinions were not influenced by the compensation I received for writing this review.