Based on the dense novel by David Mitchell, “Cloud Atlas” is a story with huge magnitude. Covering centuries, each viewer should find appeal in at least one of the storylines. The problem is that “Cloud Atlas” is a genre mash-up that might throw off those with specific tastes. If the abrupt genre changes and ideology aren’t too uncomfortable, audiences should label “Cloud Atlas” the most enthralling epic of all time.
Time flows fluidly as the same people experience life in different forms; age, sex, and race each influence one’s life but the pursuit of companionship, friendship, and love is always the same. Whether it is the journey on the ocean between a wealthy Englishman (Jim Sturgess) and a slave (David Gyasi), a gay composer (Ben Whishaw) creating his masterpiece, a journalist (Halle Berry) investigating a company a few decades ago, an aging publisher (Jim Broadbent) in present day, a futuristic rebellion in Korea, or a distant future on a seemingly primitive island colony, we are always connected.
Viewers will notice the fingerprints of the Wachowski siblings throughout the whole film, but the sci-fi scenes feel entirely of their creation. After their extremely famous “Matrix” series, Lana and Andy Wachowski are known for their creativity and incredible vision. Luckily, Tom Tykwer’s emotion and warmth balances out their adrenaline. Tykwer’s co-direction is especially evident in the incredible amount of skill in the acting. Tykwer is best known for his “Run Lola Run,” but he has proven with films like “Heaven” that he can inspire his actors to give truly powerful performances and he definitely gets the best from Jim Broadbent, Ben Whishaw, Jim Sturgess, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Hugo Weaving, Doona Bae, James D’Arcy, Keith David, Xun Zhou, David Gyasi, Hugh Grant, and, of course, Tom Hanks.
Almost as much as the three directors need to be praised, the make-up team deserves every accolade. Each of the main actors plays multiple parts and must look entirely different to do so. Whether it is changing age, gender, race, or time period’s style, the make-up team creates each character to perfection. Stay through the beginning of the end credits to see collections of each actor’s roles to see how diverse their characters are; I admit, though I tried desperately to catch all of them, some of the actors are so transformed that I did not recognize them.
The film ranges from comedy, drama, and romance to adventure and sci-fi. It ranges from very violent to sentimental. I laughed out loud much more than I expected, mostly because of the publisher storyline, and admit to getting misty-eyed fairly often. Of all of the stories, Ben Whishaw’s composer is the most touching and beautiful. Like James Cameron’s “Avatar,” “Cloud Atlas” is an experience that cannot be fully imagined until viewed.
Rating for “Cloud Atlas:” A
For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.
“Cloud Atlas” is playing in most theatres in Columbus, including Cinemark 16 in Gahanna, the three AMCs, Gateway, and the Raves. For showtimes, click here.