Cloud Atlas is probably one of the most over all entertaining movies I have seen in quite some time.
Based on the best selling and much coveted novel by David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas manages to tickle the brain in almost every way imaginable. The film tells six stories: from an old man’s daring escape from a prison-like retirement home and to one woman’s ascendance to a martyr / deity of her time. What storytellers attempt to do is to show how all the stories intertwine and how all the characters ultimately come to a common crossroad of wanting to live free.
Each story is a sort of escape and endurance of the trials and tribulations of the time. The time frame spans from the year 1839 on an old wooden ship to the year 2346 in a mechanized, controlled dystopian society. I struggle to really provide a synopsis other than the characters all are connected through the previous lives of others and that they all thirst for freedom.
Each story contains the same actors playing at times almost unrecognizable characters. Tom Hanks plays a doctor and a futuristic primitive tribesman named Zachry. Halle Berry plays an investigative reporter from the 1970’s and a marooned alien from another planet. Jim Broadbent plays the bad guy in pretty much every story he is in and does an outrageous job as a Nurse Ratchet-style character in one of the stories.
I will tell you it is pretty much a pointless endeavor to try to assimilate any sort of logical connection between the stories. It is most certainly in need of a second watch on my part, but what I took from the story was that people are not meant to live in bondage. People have thoughts and emotions which quite simply cannot be locked up inside a box and shut away. We are much like the expression of a cloud in that we kind of bounce around from one shape to the next.
I think the comparison to clouds is very keen for the title because that is what it conveys to the audience. People are similar clouds in that they come in all shapes and sizes and come and go as they please. The difference is, people have these things called brains and in return, thought processes. This is why we have an overwhelming desire to be free from the bondage that can sometimes be forced upon us by society from time to time.
It was a very good film! It was very easy to follow considering you are following six stories jumping around from one to the other.
The film makers, Lana and Andy Wachowski, whom of which were also responsible for The Matrix trilogy, were perfect for this story. I don’t think they could have picked a better team to take this potential nightmare of a novel on. As multifaceted as the stories may seem they really are not.
Go into it with an open mind; don’t try to figure anything out. It’s not meant to be a mind melding riddle as a lot of people I have heard chatting about it. It is nothing more than an entertaining set of stories that coincide throughout a 500-year span and the remarkable tasks they endure for freedom. I recommend this if you’re in the mood for something a bit outside of the box. It’s not too far out to be confusing but just far enough to warrant a second watch! Enjoy!
I give it 8 out of 10