Spanning nearly three hours and many many decades, Cloud Atlas is pretty much designed to confuse. With Jim Broadbent, Halle Berry, Tom Hanks and Hugo Weaving (to name just a few) playing multiple characters multiple times throughout, one might worry that the film would be spent peering through the prosthetic make up to work out exactly who was playing what.
But it’s just not. The stories themselves are so intelligently and emotively told that when watching them, the other stories within the film are completely forgotten, as each time you are plunged into another world, be it years into the future or the all too recent past. Ben Whishaw, a personal favourite of mine, is stunning as a tormented composer whilst Doona Bae’s portrayal of a creation made purely for the purpose of serving in a commercial future is heartbreaking.
One hang up, one problem I have with this, is the story focusing on Tom Hanks as a tribesman and Halle Berry as a member of a society holding onto their technological past, visiting the tribe. I found it hard to care for the characters and the story (although I was terrified by Hugh Grant’s cannibalistic appearance) and nearly all of the lines were impossible to hear or understand; but this is more a problem stemming from the novel in that the characters are a little too far removed from human to want the narrative to keep returning to them.
Overall though, I really loved this. It left me thinking for hours afterwards, as well as wanting the 2012 sixth of the film as a stand-alone film. Maybe.
4 stars for Cloud Atlas!