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'Cloud Atlas' a brilliant scifi fantasy love story spanning 500 years

A 2012 film directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer

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Could have easily been the best film of the year if only the story ran smoother and less precise.

  • Dec 17, 2012

I left two times the movie theater knowing that I saw something special, knowing that I witnessed not only a march towards freedom but also towards a better understanding of faith and how that works in the context of evolution. I noticed that everyone is talking about how important is the concept of freedom in this film and to a certain degree I fully agree. There is one small window though that I think a lot of people are missing. The fact that even if the present or the future seem to be irreversible and not to be altered, faith plays a great role in doing the unexpected because it's the pillar of what pushes anyone to change something. So the role of faith in evolution is a major concept in Cloud Atlas. Haven't read the book I have the opinion of an outsider here and I think what Cloud Atlas did is marvelous but I also acknowledge the issues that the movie has and why it is so polarizing. 

The force of Cloud Atlas is not in the labirynthian craft of the story which is a bit hard to process entirely by the general audience but in the mixture of ideas and themes present in the film. That is the marvelous part. That this film succeeded in telling a story of faith, destiny, and freedom by using important problems that are relevant to our society. It went on and explored slavery, environmental issues, resource problems, politics, religion, human integrity and professional integrity, linguistics, and even insanity. It was so easy for a movie about something so common like freedom or faith to just revolve around the love/hate element of human nature but this one it didn't, it didn't took the lazy path of going somewhere. This is where I think Cloud Atlas succeeds. Making every story that's being told important and relevant to our society. It tells a story of "how not to" or "how to" without directly pointing the finger. The bad side of all this though is exactly the labirynthian craft of the story. Not because it's too hard to process by the average moviegoer but simply because it feels even for people like me -who've seen thousands of movies-- a bit like reading a really "exhibitionistish" piece of literature. It just hits you with so many things without any warning that you're constantly under a wave of ideas. It's more of a flood of ideas. The character development feels like that as well. While I can see the progress and the small connections I can hardly get attached to any character because I feel they are for a moment just pawns in the grand scheme of things shown here. It's a film that lets few people breathe. It doesn't take a pause and in movies like this one, pauses are sometimes needed. 

The acting is good but nothing that will stand in front in particular. We get fine work from Tom Hanks, Jim Broadbent, our latest "Q" in James Bond Series, Ben Whishaw, and short but keen performances by David Gyasi and Hugh Grant. Halle Berry feels a little bit out of place, and God that makeup was half brilliant, half awful. In general this films lacks the technical qualities that it could have had. The cinematography is polarizing as well. Sometimes I felt the John Toll shots made more sense and sometimes I felt the Frank Griebe shots were more gripping and pulled me back into the story. The strongest technical part in Cloud Atlas is without a doubt the music. The score by Tom Twyker, Johnny Klimek, and Reinhold Heil is so emotional, vivid, and really helps in keeping the audience interested and ultimately sending a message. 

I think Twyker and the Wachowski brothers managed to create a great film that only falls short because it feels just a bit too much. It went over the top with it's exposition and that hurts. This could have easily been the best film of the year if only the story ran smoother and less precise.

Story: 9.0
Acting: 8.0
Technical Execution: 8.6
Replay Value: 8.5

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December 20, 2012
I will definitely see if I can still catch this one in theaters.
December 19, 2012
Excellent pictures!
More Cloud Atlas (2012 film) reviews
review by . December 04, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
I thought that was a fitting name to this review since I haven't written in awhile and I miss you guys! Plus, it has to do with this fantastic movie about intersecting life paths, deja vu, and how even your smallest decisions affect the world at large.            The other day, F and I headed to a movie. He had wanted to see Cloud Atlas for a while, and having no memory of what it was about, I agreed. I'm so glad that I did. I loved this movie. It's …
review by . October 25, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
'Cloud Atlas' a brilliant, scifi, fantasy love story, spanning 500 years (video)
By Joan Alperin Schwartz   'Cloud Atlas' is a film that some people, like myself, will find absolutely brilliant, while others, like John (the other half of 'Two Jews On Film') will feel just the opposite.                                                &nbs …
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Julian Left ()
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Movies, Film, Scifi, Fantasy Films, Review, Hollywood, Cinema, Tom Hanks, Julian Left, Susan Sarandon, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Cloud Atlas, Wachowski, Ben Whishaw, Andy Wachowski, Tom Twyker, Jim Broadbent, The Wachowskis, Lana Wachowski


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