Cloud Atlas – Movie Review

Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks, and, well, more Tom Hanks. Halle Berry, Halle Berry, and… I think you get it. Thus begins the terrific extravaganza of the mind bending Cloud Atlas. Is this a best picture nomination worthy piece of film noir? No. Can I guarantee you will either love this movie or hate it? Can I guarantee you will either love this movie or hate it? No. But what I can say is that this is the most polarizing film I have seen in years. Truthfully, even I have no clue whether I love it or hate it. It’s not a mixed emotion; it’s just an unsure one. This is a film that will leave you talking for days, and that simple fact cannot be ignored.

Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, and more of an excellent cast portray many different characters that span different generations and each generation somehow ties into the other. That wraps up the plot, if there is one plot, and it is as confusing as it sounds. This is one of the hardest films I have ever experienced and that isn’t necessarily a good thing; nor is it a bad one. The outstanding cast does a superb job in their roles and they really delve into their characters the way they should in a film of this magnitude. Yes, the magnitude of this film must be addressed. The Wachowski’s (The Matrix) co-wrote the script and directed this film and the ambitious scope seen through the analytical lenses is nothing short of staggering. The script sometimes does feel jumbled and maybe that’s just a lack of intelligence on my part, but the direction by Wachowski’s is superbly marvelous, as always. Hanks and Berry strike good chemistry and Hugo Weaving does the best with what he’s given; including a creepy mad-hatter-like villain and a Japanese lover whose makeup too often looks over cheesy.

The only true opinion I can put forth about Cloud Atlas is that it is a beautiful mystery. I have only seen it one time, and after that first time it feels like a film that must be seen multiple times to be completely comprehended and experienced. However, the film does have many notable flaws that won’t improve on multiple viewings, including the unbalanced makeup and some highly unlikely futuristic speech patterns (“Are you telling me the true true?”). However, the film is extraordinarily original and finely pieced together by the filmmakers, which, in turn creates a film that, while overlong, is irrevocably captivating.

Grade: B-

Run Time: 165 mins

Rated: R for violence, language, sexuality/nudity, and some drug use

Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Ben Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, and Xun Zhou

Writter(s): Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski

Director(s): Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski,

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