“There is a natural order to this world, and those who try to upend it do not fare well.”
– Haskell Moore
During a London shoot of V for Vendetta, Natalie Portman gave Lana Wachowski a copy of a novel called Cloud Atlas. She became so interested in the story that she, along with the help from her brother Andy, adapted the story into a first draft of a script. Armed with the casting of A-List talent & a collaboration with Tom Tykwer later, Cloud Atlas arrives to the big screen!
There’s no simple way to describe the grand scope of the story, as much like the book, the story scope of the movie goes from an early 1800’s voyage of Adam Ewing (Jim Sturgess) to the 1930’s where an aspiring composer (Ben Whishaw) thinks he’s found his big break to the present-day misadventures of a writer (Jim Broadbent) trying to escape his circumstances.All that while melding into a 1970’s murder mystery, a romance thriller surrounding a young woman (Doona Bae) & a refugee (Jim Sturgess) in futuristic Korea as well as when a time traveler (Halle Berry) meets Zachry (Tom Hanks), a native in post-apocalyptic time from the previous story as they end up on an adventure that could change his life forever.
The makeup work in Cloud Atlas was phenomenal. As many of the actors played multiple roles in the movie, the makeup artists really did a masterful job of making the actors look like completely different characters from the previous sequences. Make sure you stay at a little after the credits to see exactly who played who. The answers may surprise you.
While the acting was very well done by a superb and varied cast, the story arc is too ambitious. Yes, the story segments are quite intriguing on their own as they span many different genres. However, their combination seems very overwhelming at times. It seems like the movie tries to do too much with its story as well as philosophically. However, as the movie goes along, you understand that [just like the purpose of this movie which they try to beat into you] everything has a reason for it.
The editing of the movie was essential to this movie. It really helped make sense of the movie and was the best way to edit on the movie that span many different times. It really lends itself creatively as it uses the story in certain parts to link one piece to another. Quite honestly, the editing saves the movie from losing itself in its time traveling, lofty philosophical story arc.
Cloud Atlas is literally a film that has everything. I cannot think of a movie that literally has elements from virtually every film genre. Having said that, you’re subject to a little of everything; which include violence, nudity [both sex related & non sex related], spicy language, intense/scary moments, as well as reflective moments & funny moments.
With a story that has a story with love, friendship, comedy, & practically everything but the kitchen sink, Cloud Atlas is like the party pack of chips; a little bit of every variety but not enough of what you need. Despite its faults, it’s still a movie with a story that ultimately comes together as combined with great acting on a grand cinematic scope. Depending on your bravery, Cloud Atlas could be worth a trip around the time-space continuum. B-
Fade to black…