Cloud Atlas Movie Review   November 3rd, 2012

Cloud Atlas is both a compelling and challenging film. It has a sweeping narrative and stunning visual style, which is to representative of the Wachowski’s work. It also expects something from the viewer as it consists of several parallel and interconnected story-lines. These stories flow linearly in their own time frame, but the plot of the film cuts between all of them, sometimes quickly so. The editing, pacing and theming of these cuts was wonderfully done.

The stories are all inter-related, but the film is not totally clear on the mechanics of that. It is eluded that the characters could possibly be reincarnated souls, but that is not strongly suggested. Several links between the parallel lives are shown, but they don’t always make logical sense. Even so, thematically it all works.

The characters are played by the same actors in each of the different periods, sometimes with some impressive makeup which loses them in the character. The acting and characterization is brilliant and the stories make for some wonderful character drama. The film also works across several different genres and tones between the stories, which made things balanced and interesting.

There were some major themes throughout the stories: man’s violence against man for greed and more basic human drives, selfish and selfless acts, falls and redemptions. Deconstructing the film, it felt like the stories fell into two types, major arcs which dealt with the fight against systematic injustice, and minor arcs which served as connections between the other stories and showed more of humanity’s mix of weakness and potential.

The movie isn’t perfect. Some of the connections between stories felt a little superfluous. The points the film made did get a bit heavy handed at times, but at the same time the drama and overall intrigue of the stories were still definitely entertaining. If you’re willing to watch a film which takes some degree of active engagement from the viewer, and which could definitely use a second viewing to aid in the understanding, then it’s well worth the effort and a rewarding experience. 4/5 stars.

This entry was posted on Saturday, November 3rd, 2012 at 6:56 am and is filed under Movies and TV. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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