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Cloud Atlas Leaves You in a Fog (Movie Review)

This week's film is a nearly-three-hour mind bender based on David Mitchell's critically-acclaimed novel.

This movie features six major plot lines, taking place over 500 years, featuring the same actors playing multiple roles: That's what you get with 'Cloud Atlas.'

All of the stories are crosscut together, jumping back and forth across different time periods and locations ranging from a 19th-century South Pacific sea voyage to the distant post-apocalyptic future where humanity lives on the brink of extinction. The cast includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Susan Sarandon, Hugo Weaving and Hugh Grant. They do their best to tell the secrets of the universe and the human heart while leaving you, well, confused.

Based on the novel by David Mitchell, 'Cloud Atlas' is simply too long and too scatterbrained. The central message is that we are all connected from womb to tomb and our lives are not our own. It's a mixture of comedy, fantasy, crime thriller and hard core sci-fi. I respect the effort but honestly, it's like trying to read the instructions to a new board game in another language. I had a hard enough time trying to figure out who the stars were behind their makeup, wigs, and other prosthetics.

The Flick-o-meter gives Cloud Atlas a three out of five. I loved the concept but this film was really all over the place. This story is better off as a book—and when a film critic like myself says that, you know there are problems.

What did you think of the book version of 'Cloud Atlas'? Will you see the film? Tell us in the comments.

Paul October 28, 2012 at 12:49 PM
The movie was done exceptionally well. I would have to say if you felt you were lost or in a 'fog' the book would probably require a level of acuity that would leave you unable to enjoy either. The thing that impressed me about the movie was how they were able to establish exposition so abruptly and then drive a common thread from 10 minutes in; Love. The biggest complaint I have is that this is just another retelling of a matrix-esque 'If you want to live you must fight' narrative. But having a 6-headed protagonist really allows a different type of organic evolution. I would suggest you spend less time trying to figure out who is playing what character (how would that be relevant anyway) and more time paying attention to what role each character is playing. This film is not for everyone, unfortunately, and for that reason your 3 out 5 is probably reasonable. However, please don't misinform people that this movie is too dense; given even a bit of attention span, this movie will show you how the choices we make - good or evil - are together the reason for humanities success (or failure), and that none of these choices are greater than love.
sandi l October 28, 2012 at 02:19 PM
I kept waiting for it to end, and thought it never would. Great idea,/plot way to much to deliver. Great acting, actors, but they deliver so much better in other roles. This film was a huge mess.

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