Reviews

Cloud Atlas

3

The Matrix meets Perfume. Sort of

Artful and awe-inspiring, laughable and lamentable, Cloud Atlas is, to put it mildly, bonkers.

A dizzying, three-hour adaptation of David Mitchell’s era-hopping 2004 novel, it spans time and space to tells six separate but interlinked tales that begin in the Pacific Ocean in 1849 and conclude in post-apocalyptic Hawaii in the 24th Century.

Casting actors in multiple roles, the Wachowskis and their German co-director Tom Tykwer deserve praise for attempting to replicate Mitchell’s literary tapestry.

Cloud Atlas is one of the most structurally deft and brilliantly edited films in recent memory, with the Wachowskis bringing the visual panache of The Matrix and Perfume man Tykwer his feel for character and drama.

Inevitably, some stories work better than others. Ben Whishaw’s 1936-set role aiding Jim Broadbent’s composer is rich and rewarding.

But when Broadbent re-appears as a publisher in present-day London, tormented by an Irish-gangster author (Tom Hanks), the result is cringe-inducing.

In the future, the Blade Runner-like vision of ‘Neo-Seoul’ is dazzling. But life on Hawaii with Hanks’ tribesman and Halle Berry’s Earth Mother is tedious.

As the film cuts back and forth, connections come to the fore.

With actors popping up everywhere and even changing race (at one point James D’Arcy goes Asian), the emphasis is on universality and interconnected souls. It’s a gimmick that can distract and introduce unintentional humour.

But mostly Cloud Atlas will keep you enraptured, for its sheer dexterity alone.

Verdict:

A grand folly that makes the Wachowskis’ The Matrix trilogy look prosaic, Cloud Atlas is a fascinating if flawed work that will leave you gasping one minute and gagging the next.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • spid2411

      Feb 26th 2013, 16:56

      5

      This was great (your review is 2 stars short). At times stunning and although flawed it is an important film. Rarely do we see big budget films that are for adults with adult themes. There are no adverts for toys here - just great film making. The theme to me was about people standing up to corruption (something that is now just an accepted part of our vapid culture) and how that stand has implications for future generations. Hats off to all involved - great stuff.

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