Movie Review: Cloud Atlas

Jason Cuevas, Staff Writer

Trying to film the idea of a person’s life is never easy. Trying to film six of their lives, should be impossible. This hasn’t stopped the critically loved novel Cloud Atlas from coming to screen.

Cloud Atlas is a collaborative effort between Andy and Lana Wachowski – siblings that always work together – and Tom Tykwer. The movie tells six separate stories with each directing team taking on half. It is actually quite difficult to tell a style difference between the stories and what’s even more surprising is the six interwoven stories are easy to discern and follow, despite constantly flashing back and forth.

Reincarnation and everyone being connected are major themes in the movie. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving and a host of others, play a variety of characters in order to help enhance this idea. Weaving, of course, is still a bad guy (or girl) in each of his roles.

The cinematography is excellent and keeps a strong artistic tone. The beginning of the movie draws you right in and sparks a hint of mystery. Unfortunately, the strong impact of those early scenes does not hold on throughout the whole film.

Cloud Atlas is huge, and that is sometimes its undoing. As it wears on, some stories are just much more interesting than others. They may have been much better off simply fleshing-out some of the better stories and sacrificing some of the lesser ones.

Those who are fans of the book will have to brace themselves for some stark differences. Standard Hollywood tripe has been added, as all the lead characters fall in love and have a romantic partner. What is confusing about this nod to romance is that Vyvyan Ayrs’ daughter Eva is nowhere to be found at all, thus removing the one key love interest that was crucial to the books story.

Cloud Atlas is ambitious, but not fully successful. It isn’t a boring movie, and it has it merits, but you can’t help leaving feeling somewhat unfulfilled.