Cloud Atlas (2012) Poster

(2012)

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10/10
A genre-breaking classic
christianlotzny8 October 2012
There can be little doubt that Cloud Atlas will become a classic that will be watched over and over again by its devoted followers, just like its predecessors by Stanley Kubrick and Ridley Scott. Despite the many questions I had in my mind when I left the theater and the moments during the film when I felt disappointed or confused, I knew this, and I have not stopped thinking about the movie and longing to be back in front of the screen.

It is easy to criticize this movie as some have done for being overly ambitious, pandering to low taste, being too simple or too complex, with too few actors or too many, or even for celebrating revenge violence against professional critics who write negative reviews. They may all be correct, but these critics will still put themselves in the same category as those that warned audiences against 2001 or Blade Runner. The truth is that Cloud Atlas is profound in its reach, its visual and acoustic impact, its mesmerizing flow and its completely ground-breaking storytelling, and movie goers will see it and feel it in their guts.

It is a movie that is a product of our age of internet-driven universal knowledge and vision, and the freedom we have to travel the world and jump between ages, genres, images and identities at our will. It reminds us that we are human and that we can still hear our heart beat, if we listen.
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9/10
Quite an achievement
TheHighVoltageMessiah26 October 2012
"Cloud Atlas" is nearly three hours in length, but I wasn't bored for a minute. The film alternates between six very different stories quite seamlessly, creating an exhilarating experience. It's part sci-fi, part historical drama, part love story, part comedy. Any number of things could have gone wrong with the film. All the different genres it brings together might have failed to coherently mesh. But they did, and it's something to see.

The film takes us on shipboard in the 1800s, where a young man forms an unlikely bond with a stowaway, a runaway slave. It tells the sensitive, melancholy story of a promising young composer in the 1930s – separated by prejudice and misfortune from his lover, a man named Sixsmith. It also brings us to 1973, where an intrepid reporter finds herself caught up in a web of murder and intrigue. In the present day, the film offers up the comedic tale of a publisher on the run from a gang of thugs. Plunging into the future, it shows a dystopian vision of Seoul, South Korea that is comparable to "Blade Runner" and a primitive post-apocalyptic Hawaii.

Linking these stories together are the simple thematic elements of love, compassion, and a love for liberty. The correspondence between the composer Robert Frobisher and Sixsmith depicts the plain beauty of love as well as any film I have seen, as do tender moments between the central characters of the portion of the film set in the futuristic New Seoul. Even in the blatantly comic segment with Jim Broadbent as the publisher, a deep passion for freedom and human dignity shines through.

All the actors do a great job in their multiple roles. You can care for Tom Hanks one moment as a villager in a future Hawaii, and then revile him in the next scene where he plays a truly despicable doctor. The best performances are given, however, by Doona Bae and Jim Broadbent. I think they surpass all the rest. Bae plays a "fabricant", a kind of clone designed to serve humanity. Her gradual awakening to her own self-worth, to the subjugation of herself and of her people, is beautifully and movingly conveyed. She is heartbreaking in this role. Broadbent is equally excellent as the publisher Cavendish. His expressive face and popping eyes are ideal for comedy – and he's hilarious. But he's more than that. Broadbent infuses the character with a sense of sorrow and weariness at key moments. Cavendish has depth, a history, regrets from his past. Broadbent brings all this out brilliantly without losing his comic touch.

Everything in "Cloud Atlas" comes together to create a film I found thought-provoking and highly entertaining. I don't hesitate to recommend it.
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The Wachowskis join forces with Tom Tykwer and overhaul the meaning of the word Epic!
torontodog8 September 2012
Kudos to all the filmmakers for adapting this famously "unfilmable" novel in such an inventive way. There are SIX separate timelines that switch after every scene, but instead of the plot, the narrative continuity follows the theme of the film. Once you clue in to that overall theme, it is no longer confusing when the story jumps from a runaway slave in the 1800s to a post apocalyptic future battle between some of the last humans remaining on earth.

All this audacious style and structure makes Cloud Atlas a curiosity to say the least, but the film is lifted to the realm of "Masterpiece" by the all-star ensemble cast. This impressive collection of actors fires off amazing performances like the Expendables 2 fires off high caliber bullets. I mean this will long be considered one of the greatest acting clinics ever filmed, and a high point in some already outstanding careers, as the end credits alone are astonishing to watch.

Overall this is a movie that transcends the simple elements of stars and plots and special effects, and boldly assumes to take the cinema to another level of storytelling, much like Avatar took film to a new level of technology a few years ago. The ambition, the technical brilliance and the passion that was put into this film makes it one of the great epics of our time.
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8/10
A powerful adaptation to a beautiful novel
LetwitJr17 September 2012
I was lucky enough to get last-minute tickets for this film at the Toronto International Film Festival. The theatre was packed and we were thrilled to see it although we did not entirely know what to expect. I had read a part of the book but never found time to finish it.

The very opening of the film is mesmerizing and sets pace for all that is to follow. Six stories are intertwined to create one magical ride through time and space, as all stories move forward as one. To those who haven't read the book, I expect you might find the movie confusing at first. It seems unclear at the beginning (and for most of the first hour and a half at least) what all these characters have to do with one another. The end ties it up quite well, but for a three hour film, you might find you've spent a bit too long grasping at straws. Just let it go and enjoy what's before you; It will all come together in the end.

An important aspect of the film is that actors play different characters throughout the film, finding themselves in different stories and eras. Often it works. The futuristic plot with Jim Sturgess is one I particularly enjoy. But sometimes, it feels like they're incorporated just a tad bit much. Tom Hanks' role in the editor's story seemed huge and important and first but it seemed we were supposed to forget about it. As I walked out of the theatre, I felt I had seen not only Cloud Atlas as a whole but a series of other films as well.

I think maybe for a film such as this one, actors who weren't as known would have been better. It may have been easier to believe in all their different characters and forget who they were. But as far as their performances went, well they were great. Tom Hanks shines from the opening sequence to the very end. Halle Berry was adequate for the journalist and Hugh Grant... actually it seems he's playing himself in this one too. But the true star as always is Hugo Weaving. He steals the screen whenever he appears and is mesmerizing both as the devil or a regular assassin.

The costumes and make up went from absolutely stunning (it may take you a few minutes to recognize actors sometimes) to somewhat distracting. Changing the race and age of an actor has got to be challenging but it's still hard to forget who they are. I expect the film will get an Oscar for this however, as I don't think anyone will beat them in this category before winter comes. The score was also incredibly powerful and beautiful and helped set the tone for the movie greatly.

Cloud Atlas will take you anywhere and everywhere. It may surprise you by its sudden burst of violence, sometimes exaggerated and almost funny, sometimes cold and raw. You might cry at times, as the characters make choices and sacrifices. One story is particularly funny and had the theatre laughing quite often.

All in all, Cloud Atlas is no ordinary film. It's a voyage that will take you to places you didn't expect. Don't try to understand it, just let yourself go and you'll find you understood what it was all about. If you're looking for a linear plot, then this film isn't for you. But if you want to experience something different, then by all means, buy a ticket for Cloud Atlas when it comes out. I know I'll be seeing it again.
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8/10
A Powerful Spectacle
zapata_369 September 2012
I didn't find it to be a mess at all, and it was certainly the best thing the Wachowskis have ever done. I'm not sure how the directing duties were distributed, so I'll uniformly praise Tom Tykwer as well.

I haven't read the book, so I can't make any comparisons there, but I don't often leave a film adaptation wanting to read the novel afterwards, as I did after seeing this.

Visually stunning, epic in scope, a strong score; the sort of film that you're constantly amazed was ever made and happy it was. Equal parts comedy, romance, thriller, and dystopian speculative fiction, it really is an astounding mix of disparate elements.

The biggest overall failure was definitely some of the make-up effects - trying to turn Doona Bae into a believable red-headed Caucasian woman was simply distracting - but the overall art & sound design was incredible.

If I could turn channels while watching TV and switch between stories and narratives as seamlessly and as deftly as the editing in Cloud Atlas, it would honestly be hard to go back to simply watching one show at a time.

Truly a marvel of multitasking on so many levels. Great stuff.
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10/10
Wow - movie of the year. A must see!
ramair3503 November 2012
The last time I felt like this after seeing a movie was when I saw "Inception" on opening night. I realized I was seeming something that was different, creative, and classic.

Cloud Atlas is an amazing piece of film. Even the harshest of critics cannot say that this film is not ambitious. But I think that 99% of the people that see this film will appreciate it. I'm NOT one who tends to like films that are overly "artistic" (I hated "Tree of Life", for example). But while the overall message of the film is hard to put into words, it is easy to understand. The film is very watchable, and the nearly 3 hour length seems to fly by. The stories are sharply written, and for those who are afraid of getting "lost" while viewing, no worries ... you'll enjoy seeing clues that link the stories, but even if you miss the clues you still will see a story that is well explained and easier to consume than an experimental art film.

I am absolutely shocked that the reviews from the "experts" have not been more favorable, and the lack of box office sales is a crime. Please go see this movie - if you can see one film this year, this is the one!
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9/10
A soul's odyssey
Kubris3 November 2012
Cloud Atlas is unlike its contemporaries at the multiplex. It tells a big story in an engaging, difficult fashion. It has big names and a big budget. But it also is thematically dense… it wants to tell you something through plot, characters, dialogue and symbols. Cloud Atlas is also thankfully a very enjoyable film, much longer and denser than much of what is available today. "Ambition" defines this film.

In just under 3 hours, six radically different stories are told, and they appeal to a broad audience: a 19th century tale of unlikely brotherhood, the letters of a gay composer to his partner in the 1930's, a San Francisco- set conspiracy in the 70's, A hilarious account of an old publisher's woes. A Blade Runner-esque clone's struggle for freedom, and the survival of a tribe after 'The Fall'. Genre conventions are toppled, as these stories with different tones are juggled in short intervals, leading from comedic highs to shocking drama in minutes.

But as with the characters, these plots are connected thematically, and clever wordplay and visual imagery links the stories, such as the end of a monologue referencing "the gates of Hell" and cutting to a shot of the gates of a building that, for Cavendish at least, is the gates of Hell. Each of the stories has strengths, a few have faults, but together the medley is incredible.

I found that while the earliest two stories began slowly and plainly, they developed very well and provided fantastic drama, especially the 1849 story. The Nuclear thriller was strong, Halle Berry is great and there are some real twists, and I also loved the 'Dirty Harry' and 'China Syndrome' vibes, but comedy bled into it from the 2012 story which diminished the climax. The 2012 story is hilarious, and its first scene is a standout; Tom Hanks is incredible as Dermot Hoggins. Although while the story is interesting, it doesn't fit quite so well thematically- it's almost too light. Listening to the 'Cloud Atlas Sextet' fits with all the stories, but can't resonate with Cavendish's. The future Korea is visually stunning and communicates its themes well, certainly the darkest plot, but the action can get over the top (Yes, I know who directed this) and there are some horrible clichés. But that scene of horrendous dialogue, the weakest in the film, can't derail a great piece. Lastly is the bleak, Hawaii- set post-apocalyptic story. It was my favourite, possibly because I'm a sucker for anything involving apocalypse. But Hanks and Berry are fantastic again, the barbarians are menacing and scary, and the story is cool. It also concludes the film perfectly.

I've only talked about the plot! The actors really steal the show. In the credits, each actor's name is placed with a clip of every one of their characters… everyone in the theatre stopped and stayed. People play characters you had no idea they played. A few highlights: Sturgess' lawyer and the slave Autua, Frobisher, Hugh Grant's sexist nuclear boss, Cavendish and Hanks' Hoggins. Doona Bae as Somni and Hugo Weaving's "Old Georgie" round it out- the latter is truly a demon. Much credit has to go to the makeup, literally making actors disappear into their roles. There is a huge number of transsexual and even race-bridging roles- it's worthy of note that Lana Wachowski was at one point Larry Wachowski. Also deserving of praise, and possibly Oscars is the large scale visual effects that cover hundreds of years and look so believable. Sound quality is top-notch as well, listening to Old Georgie is chilling, as is the vision of Korean diners, and well... the whole future.

But all this plot serves a purpose, and Cloud Atlas intends to tell you things. Freedom is possibly the biggest theme, as well as the idea that our actions affect others greatly throughout time: we're part of a large human network. Really though there's so much to talk about you should just see the film. There are small stumbles every so often, but the structure hides them very well. No one story takes more time than others, no one character takes more time than others, and the structure and pacing drives the film forward briskly. It's a shame this film hasn't been better received commercially, because it's a phenomenal achievement, interesting sci-fi and drama, and as of now, the best film I've seen in 2012. 8.8/10
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9/10
Quite the Epic
angry_foamy18 October 2012
My wife and I were able to see an advanced showing of Cloud Atlas last night at The Chicago International Film Festival. I will say that I was thrilled to see this movie from the moment I saw the initial trailer release. I am a huge fan of movies that are epic in nature and are rather daring by taking on the task of time lines that may span a millennia.

I will not provide any spoilers but I will say that the film is truly grand in scope and as you may have deduced from the trailer, the film time span passes through hundreds of years and includes many characters and story lines that are interwoven or overlap.

I cannot say enough about the performances in the film. From top to bottom, everyone displays amazing performances. Hugo Weaving obviously is a show stopper in several scenes. The make-up and costume design will throw even the seasoned film-goer off as the transitions made by these characters are nothing short of spectacular. I cannot see another film coming close to being in the same category for the Oscar in Costume and Make-Up.

The visuals and the score of the movie were the biggest takeaways for me. There were moments that reminded me of Blade Runner mixed with Out of Africa. There are a large number of stories within the film, some large and some small, but many strong enough to be individual films themselves. That being said with the long running time of the film, almost 3 hours, coupled with the multitude of story lines and the very numerous edits, the film can be a daunting task for even a seasoned viewer. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't fighting to pay close attention to every detail to the first hour of the film to understand what was happening. The first 10 minutes alone caused me some confusion.

This film will not be for everyone due to its complexity and length, but for those who are true fans of films this epic in nature will truly appreciate the film. I very much look forward to another viewing of the film and encourage everyone to see the film at least once.

Cheers
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8/10
Daring and quite impressive
MediaboyMusings25 September 2012
"Impressive". That's the best description I could come up with after being asked by my brother and sister-in-law about my thoughts on Cloud Atlas immediately following the film's second-ever public screening we'd just attended. Not a very incisive assessment, I'll grant you, but my head was still spinning as I tried to make sense of what I'd just witnessed over the film's jam-packed two hour and forty three minute running time. This may be one the most ambitious and epic films I've ever seen, demanding rapt attention from viewers as they're taken on an odyssey that spans the globe over 500 years and hopscotches between numerous interwoven story lines that incorporates just about every film genre available, featuring actors playing several different roles each. Cloud Atlas is based on British author David Mitchell's best-selling 2004 novel and was a huge challenge for the filmmakers to adapt and finance (its estimated budget of over $100 million also makes it the most expensive independent film ever made). The architects of this beautifully twisted madness are directors/writers/producers Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and The Matrix's Wachowski siblings, Andy and Lana (Lana was Larry until a gender transition that was completed about five years ago). The Wachowskis, notoriously press shy, were surprisingly on hand (along with Tykwer) to introduce the film's second screening the morning after its star-studded TIFF world premiere on September 8th at the Princess of Wales Theatre.

A movie this expansive should have a massive cast, considering how many characters appear - not so in this case, though. Principle actors Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, and Xun Zhou each take on multiple roles that plays loose and fast with the actors' ages, races, and genders (Susan Sarandon, Keith David, James D'Arcy, and Doona Bae also have smaller roles). Having so many dimensions to explore with all of their characters must have been acting nirvana for this lot. For the most part, they pull off the various requirements of the roles, many of which require a significant amount of prosthetics and makeup. Several of the roles were so well disguised that I was completely clueless that a certain actor had played the role until the end credits visually made some of the big reveals (learning that Berry played the white Victorian housewife and Grant a war paint-layered native completely floored me). Sticking around until the end is an absolute necessity for Cloud Atlas - the oohs and ahhs from the sold-out audience as they discovered who actually played some of the parts was a wonderfully unique filmgoing experience for me. For all of the positive aspects that the race bending and gender bending idea brings to the film, there is the faint whiff of novelty attached to it. Things do get a little silly when you have Weaving seemingly playing an Asian character whose makeup produces more of a Vulcan look (which may have been intentional, as it's for a sci-fi sequence that takes place somewhere in the 2300s), as well as in full drag playing a Nurse Ratched-like character. The latter obviously has parallels to Lana Wachowski's own life and although the nurse character provides some decent laughs, I was a little hung up on how it seemed one of the character's main functions was to generate laughs purely based on the surreal sight of Weaving playing one truly ugly looking woman. Perhaps I'm reading too much into it.

Weaving does provide one of Cloud Atlas' most memorable roles, as the seriously creepy Old Georgie, who terrorizes one of Hanks' many characters. Hanks does some of the best work I've ever seen from him, playing four different characters that range from an unscrupulous doctor in the 1800s to going far against type with maybe the film's standout character, a modern-day thuggish British writer named Dermot Hoggins who gets the ultimate revenge on a critic for a bad review. Berry is excellent with her predominant roles playing an ambitious reporter in 1970s San Francisco and a political figurehead (from what I could grasp) aligned with one of Hanks' characters in the far future, in one of the film's few story lines that doesn't quite work. Also great is Broadbent as both a composer and playing a man tricked into living in a retirement home, who provides the film's best comic relief.

The weighty Cloud Atlas principle themes of philosophy, reincarnation, oppression, and destiny, along with the film's highly challenging pace and complex non-linear storytelling construct will overwhelm many - that's okay, however. I was lost a number of times - not Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy-level lost, mind you, but definitely out of sync with what was happening on screen. This is the type of daring film that demands multiple viewings to completely grasp the filmmakers' grand scope and there's nothing wrong with a little audaciousness from Hollywood once in a while. Even with a big-name cast, it'll be very interesting to see how the otherwise difficult-to-market Cloud Atlas will fare at the box office come late October.
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8/10
A bold, audacious tour-de-force in cinematic storytelling
bshears9910 September 2012
This movie is a fusion of several genres (drama, adventure, sci-fi, comedy, romantic tragedy) as well as an attempt for an art-house cerebral movie to attain commercial blockbuster status. In my opinion it mostly succeeds, but finding a large mainstream audience is its biggest challenge to be met (at this point, before wide release).

Imagine taking six short (but big-budget) films with different stories and directors and combining them into an anthology feature, united by a common theme and cast of actors in different roles, and then editing the entire thing out of sequence. The "nested" narrative of the book has been re-arranged for the sake of the visual medium of film, and after first being introduced to the 6 worlds, it's not that hard to keep track of who's who, what's what and where & when. Frankly, it's a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination for Best Editing - it works very well considering the challenge of making it flow coherently.

The cinematography, set & art design, music score and performances range from good to great. The make-up in some cases created a distraction (a Korean woman transformed into a red-haired Caucasian; Hugo Weaving as a buxom female nurse) but it adds a bit of fun to the experience. There's a smörgåsbord of material here for most people: human drama, mystery, violence, sex, adventure, farcical comedy, gloomy sci-fi and occasional romance (both gay and straight). It's 6 movies for the price of one! Just be ready to spend almost 3 hours in your seat and suffer a bit of whiplash as the transitions can get frenetic at times, with multiple cliff-hangers happening simultaneously. Like a good roller-coaster, it has its lulls and rushes. Some might find the finale a bit conventional, sappy or anti-climactic. But there's no denying this is a big, expensive gamble on the part of the Wachowskis and their producers. Hopefully it'll achieve the kind of success they got with the first "Matrix" and not the fate of the abysmal "Speed Racer." (PS I saw the film at its world premiere at TIFF.)
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1/10
Like flipping channels for 3 hours.
phd_travel22 January 2013
A grandiose production and stellar cast doesn't help this overly ambitious mix come together in a coherent movie. The series of different stories isn't set up well in the beginning so it feels confusing for a while. Then when they sort of come together it isn't clever or convincing. Maybe this story was unfilmable. It just felt like a mix of bad movies shredded and mixed up together. It tries to have a common theme about standing up to oppression of some sort or other via corporate corruption, musical composition, the slave trade, science fiction etc but in the end it wasn't worth the effort.

The white actors acting as Asian and vice versa are distractingly comical although I understand there is a reason for it.

It's easy to see why it wasn't a box office success and didn't receive any major nominations.

Skip it.
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1/10
Disappointed
bethdixon022 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Oh Hollywood, thank you for your use of music. It's the lube you use as a courtesy while you attempt to mentally rape me. It's the way you can make the emptiness seem profound. It's the way you make me feel as if I've learned a secret of life while being indoctrinated to the insidiousness of big oil, the heartlessness of corporations, the racism of Christianity, the crushing of the weak by the rich, the need for an anti-Capitalist revolution and the beauty of gay love. Your music is the cherry flavoring of the poison you have once again spoon fed me through my entertainment, a power you abuse without apology. The idea of Cloud Atlas, that people are bound through lifetimes, is one that I'm not sold on. Conversely, the common binding of the same stale ideology through reincarnations of cinema, sold with the power of music, that, you have once again demonstrated.

As much as I wanted to like this film and as much as I had hoped that this film would be creative and inspiring, I just found little of value here. This is just another demonstration of one of thousands of Hollywood propaganda pieces designed to brainwash the masses through your entertainment and push a liberal agenda.

The gist is nothing deeper than the idea of reincarnation and soul mates. There is really nothing new that this film adds to any schools of thought and it contains no idea that you didn't already more comprehensively examine when you were 19 and stoned.

The changing of stories is also nothing new to the movie industry. I've heard people describe the movie as difficult to understand or complex, but it's not. Memento was a pioneer in this realm and uncreative Hollywood types have been milking the technique for all it's worth ever since. Been there, done that. When stories start skipping around like this you should realize it's multi-threaded. At that point pay attention and just go with it and hopefully the director ties everything up well at the end and you don't realize that you've just wasted 3 hours with no payoff.

Multi-threaded stories are pretty common now. It's how Hollywood makes you think with a structure rather than a worthy plot. It's how they create a sense of complexity out of a void and in this scenario makes it next to impossible to care about any of the stories or characters.

The stories were boring, the acting was nothing special at best and I couldn't care less about any of the characters. At one point a gay man kills himself. I really don't know why, nor do I care. I know from the music that the film wanted me to care and to be emotionally invested, but nope, couldn't care less. The guy that committed suicide seemed like a self centered egomaniac douche and if there was any characteristic of him that would make me care about him, I didn't see it. I think the only character that I remotely liked was the escape slave, but perhaps just the idea of escaping made me happy after two hours into this film.

As stated above, the music is fine enough and gives you the sense that you're growing as a person, but when you actually think about it, there is nothing new, ground-breaking, or even particularly interesting going on here.

I really thought that there was a distinct chance as I was watching, that the film would take all the little pieces of crap, stick them together and I would be amazed by the brilliant piece of art that was revealed. Nope! It was just a bunch of crap stuck together. You were expecting some genius ending that unfortunately no one had the talent to produce. Kinda like "Lost". With Lost JJ wrote himself into a box he did not have the talent to coherently write himself out of, but at least Lost was interesting along the way.

I read another review that stated that there are a lot of people who are praising this movie because they're afraid that others will think they're stupid for not getting the movie. I think that is very true because I have yet to hear one rational explanation of why this film is not horrible. Here's the bad news, they are stupid. Not because they are so dumb that they don't get it, but because they're so dumb that they don't realize there's nothing there to begin with and they don't possess the mind to question it. I know Tom Hanks is in it. I know Halle Berry is in it. (SPOILER ALERT: I am about to reveal the most mind-blowing aspect of this film.) Tom Hanks and Halle Berry can be in a crap movie!

This film is best watched with subtitles as the clarity of the words is not great in some parts and is obscured by dialects in other parts, including the ebonicy dialect that adds nothing in the post apocalyptic story between Hanks and Berry. Not only did that one particular dialect add nothing, but it subtracted and distracted from the story with how silly it sounded. It honestly reminded me of Jar Jar Binks and nothing good reminds you of Jar Jar Binks!

Personally, I found my mind drifting and contemplating much deeper topics such as how much money you could make if you actually went to Hollywood with the skills to make someone look old rather than plastic. I'm looking at you too Prometheus! Some of the makeup jobs looked quite atrocious.

If you think you might like a film made up of a nougatty center of liberal brainwashing with a coating of stale ideas then by all means see this movie. On the other hand if you can tell the difference between deep sounding music and actual depth, then you'll probably be disappointed too.
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1/10
pretentious, boring and incoherent
hdavis-297 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I'm going to buck the trend here and instead of extolling the virtues of this wonderful spiritual journey through time and space, I'm going to call it an undisciplined, self-indulgent, incoherent piece of claptrap. I really feel like this is a case of the Emperor's New Clothes. I'm standing up and saying the old guy is naked and he's ugly to boot. They said this was a book that couldn't be made into a movie. They were right. And it was pointless to try. What you were likely to get was... this! If you've read the book and liked it, then you might like the film too. But just remember, you are bring understanding and structure to what you see. If you haven't read the book and know little about it, this movie is likely to be a frustrating and incoherent mess to you. That was certainly my experience. So don't get suckered into going to see this godawful film "cold." Tom Hanks looked like he had a grand time being part of it. You won't.
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1/10
Three hours of beautiful crap.
virindra2 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I have seen the preview of this movie and was disappointed that Halle Berry was in this movie. She is a very boring actress who always plays a confident woman and in this movie she was not different than that. But Tom Hanks and Hugo Weaving made me watch this movie in the cinema. I did not know it would be a three hours hell.

The movie is very beautiful made. What more can you expect from the Wachowski brothers (or brother / sister, I got lost there). The movie switches from the one parallel universe tot the other. In the preview the only thing the actors and actresses said was that the story is very complex and everything will come together at the end. Like boring the preview was, so was the movie. We got to see three hours of scenes going from story to story and back. Only to tell a simple story what the whole movie was really about. Yes, you get to know what the movie is about at the end, but it is very disappointing.

Acting was bad. Make-up was awesome. The actors and actresses were pimped up very beautiful. Sometimes the actors and actresses had to speak words of the English language in a different way like we are used to. I could see they had a bit of trouble there and that really stole the magic of the movie.

Some people left the cinema before the movie was over. Most people, like me, stayed. Maybe because we hoped the movie would get better, or the urge to know what this movie was about, or maybe not letting our money we paid for the movie wash down the drain.

One big advice: don't watch it in the cinema. It's a waste of your money. It's nothing like the matrix, what in my opinion was a great action movie.
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3/10
Long-winded new-age mess . . .
the_cyberpunk28 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not sure what to say about this film. It was attempting to be all things to all men . . . literally, but failed so miserably I cannot conceive of how it is regarded highly by anyone who saw it. The only thing more embarrassing than the pacing, directing, editing and performances in this film was the make-up, which especially when Hugo Weaving appears dressed in drag as a middle aged nurse reminded me of a less convincing Mrs. Doubtfire. Hugo's transformation feels uncomfortable and half-hearted, designed for cheep laughs because the audience knows this is a man who is far more comfortable in a g-man suit and shades and not in knit-sweaters and comfortable shoes attempting to capture the nuances of Nurse Ratched. If it weren't for the fact that each story is edited together and connected by some goofy new-age reincarnation mumbo-jumbo it would amount to little more than a series of fairly pedestrian clichés in genre-fiction. The fact that the same 15 or so actors (about 2 or 3 of whom are better actors than this film allows) are jumbled between the plots makes the film even more difficult to enjoy. Imagine you're being served a 6-course meal, and for some reason the chef has decided to use the same 6 ingredients in every course . . . Including the ripe old cheese that was Tom Hanks in this film. The worst performance by far was turned in by Doona Bae, whose character seems to be built around 95% hairstyle, 2% skimpy skirts, 1% never having shoes on for some reason, 2% passively reciting her lines in a sort of monotone sigh. A scene where she is supposed to be giving a speech that will cause a revolution in her world sounds like it could have been read from a cue card by a shy 9 year old, this even after her character has only recently found out that her sisters have been getting ground up into juice boxes and fed to her. The scenes set in Neo-Seoul (apptly named since the Wachowskis directed this sequence) are nothing new. A futuristic dystopian cityscape has been done so many times since Blade Runner did it best 30 years ago that there's no wonder left in seeing them, especially since no-one has successfully improved on the original. There is of course plenty of martial arts, gun-fu, and even a Neo in Neo-Seoul, but the effects look rushed and unconvincing. At nearly 3 hours this film is a ponderous plodding mess that needs to be put out of its misery and converted in to a drinkable form for those who enjoyed it, so they can simply sit there and consume it without taking up theatre space from better films. They can put Deepak Chopra's name on the box to help sales.
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1/10
A Pretentious Cliché
VKirilova21 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Now... forgive my hateful language but I am still recovering from the ridiculous boredom and anger that I experienced last night. I should start by saying that I spent the night trying to think of something good about this movie. I failed.

This was the most pretentious, most cliché film I have seen in a long long time. This idea with telling different stories serving a single purpose which would "form the big picture" is so overused. And it might have worked with some other films but in this case it's just "oh c'mon, seriously?!". The cast is awful. Don't get me wrong I usually like Tom Hanks and I loved Ben Whishaw in The Perfume, but the acting in Cloud Atlas is literally scandalous. Now about the movie itself. It is crystal clear what they tried to achieve. It should have been some sort of a revelation which would explain life itself. In reality it is simple, shallow and ridiculous. It doesn't raise questions or make you think. It doesn't even try to show you the answers. It just tells you stuff with a dramatic slow preacher-like voice and wannabe interesting accents. Honestly this parody of a movie felt as if you caught a sub- sub-sub-cable 22h lame melodramatic TV show crew, you gave them a giant budget and a camera (and Halle Berry for publicity) and they took the opportunity to spill every single stupid, random and clichéd thought into a three hour nightmare.
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1/10
They tried hard, they failed harder.
s2221411 November 2012
First time I've ever written a review after at least 10 years as a member on IMDb. Yes, this movie is that bad.

It's totally disjointed, filled with gibberish babytalk dialog, and makes little sense at all. More of a mish-mash of poorly connected movies than anything else.

There were also some extremely odd, unnecessary and inappropriate racial slurs. Who could have thought they were a good idea I cannot begin to imagine.

Yes, there are some visually stunning scenes - but the overall feel is that of watching three hours of good commercials (but commercials no less).

Those involved with the film set out some grand goals and I'm sure they thought they were achieving something immense, overarching and wonderful. They didn't.
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1/10
ponderous, pretentious and sleep-inducing
Ajtlawyer31 October 2012
"Cloud Atlas" was the longest three hours I've spent in a movie theater in a long, long time. Twice I had to hold myself back from walking out. The theme, if you can finally figure it out, is that love and relationships endure throughout time and the heroes or the spirits of the heroes keep showing up in different times in history. But rather show things in some sort of sequence, the movie cuts back and forth from time and place without any warning. You have to keep track of about a half dozen different stories, multiple characters played by the same actors and finally you just throw up your hands and give up. Even if you could figure out the storyline, there's nothing original about it. Oh, and bring a translation book since about 25% of the dialog is in some sort of pidgin-English invented for the movie.

I don't mind movies occasionally trying to shake up the traditional narrative; "Memento" was an outstandingly original twist on the conventional storytelling. But "Cloud Atlas" is not only confusing, it's ponderous, grindingly slow, gratuitously violent, self-important and dull. It cost $100 million to make and it'll no doubt enter the ranks of one of the most expensive flops in movie history. It's not even forgettable---the story is so unintelligible that you really don't have anything to forget when you leave the theater.
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1/10
total waste of time
alf-541-71669828 November 2012
I went into this movie without any idea about it.I just read Tom Tykwer did directing together with the Wachowskis. So this _must_ be a great film, right? No it is not. It was such a waste of time.

The whole movie reeks of wanna-be intellectualism but everything is totally hollow. There are several stories that are told in parallel. Problem is, that nearly every one of these story lines is really very boring.

The is zero character developing, there is zero suspense in the whole movie!! What happened to Tom Tykwer I ask? Okay, Matrix2+3 were crap. But most of Tykwers films were quite good. It is really sad to see such a decline in quality...
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10/10
- Spoilers - Attempting to explain Cloud Atlas.
bengoldenberg30 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Before I start – this review is more of a study and thus is, by nature, full of spoilers. I'm worried that people might not appreciate the interconnectedness and message of the film and brush it off. I actually thought I was going to hate it going in, wasn't sure after almost two hours, then I realized I was in love. So I would suggest, if you plan to read on, see the movie first. One critic, Joe Morgenstern, from the Wall Street Journal spouts "This would-be epic is beautifully photographed, elegantly crafted and adventurously cast. Unfortunately, though, it plays like a gargantuan trailer for a movie still to be made." Morgenstern obviously did not understand the movie. How can he call something elegantly crafted and then claim it has poor structure "gargantuan trailer" in the same breath. Okay whatever, I don't need to diss critics – Cloud Atlas does that in one of the earliest scenes when an outlandish Tom Hanks, playing an lowlife writer who's just published an autobiographical work tosses a critic off of a building. I will say this though. Cloud Atlas is epic. It's more than epic. It's length and pacing are deliberate – you are supposed to be tired when watching it – this is a story that spans generations – if it was an hour and half it would not resonate. The beauty of the filmmaking is that these guys… guys and gals get it. Zack Snyder – a talented artist – tried something similar with Sucker Punch, but ultimately failed big time. He focused too much on the visual crap. I loved the story of the girls in the home – but the action stuff was hokey, repetitive and trite. He thought we would eat it up, but the audience has seen it before. Then there's Cloud Atlas, we follow several story-lines ranging from comedy to drama to three days of the condor'esque paranoia, but when it comes to the action, effects, fantasy and hard sci-fi they do it lightly, sprinkling the massive work with seconds here and there. Just enough to leave us satisfied, but little enough to not overwhelm or undermine the complexity of this literature. I'm paraphrasing an incredibly powerful line from the end of the film here: "You can't make a change you'll just be a single drop in an entire Ocean." "What is an Ocean but a countless pool of drops?" This is the controlling idea for the movie: Can one man make a difference? Cloud Atlas believes so. Follow this single drop and watch how it ripples. Tom Hanks drops the critic off of the roof to his death. The death leads his publisher on a hilarious journey where he is wrongfully placed in a mental institution. The journey leads him to write an autobiographical novel in kind, but as he is a talented writer (obviously one who has been neglecting his talent) writes a good book. The book is turned into a movie where in the future a small clip of the movie incites a revolution which makes a person into a pseudo-Deity. This one bizzar drop – or act led a ripple which caused a revolution hundreds of years in the future. In other words, an single persons actions can have god-like effect. Then comes the theme of art or creating. Hank's character was writer. Cloud Atlas was a musical work. Letters between lovers. A Dairy and a video made by a rebel. A made-for-TV type movie based on a book. Each one of these creations of art pass through time connecting people and inspiring them to create ripples: In other words by creating even, the most insignificant works, people might find inspiration. Hell, I felt like writing this review just from seeing the movie. Maybe my review will lead somebody else to write a song, which will in turn… ripples. The concept of re-incarnation. Each actor plays myriad parts over a vast amount of time and space. The argument of good vs. evil is explored here. The Hugo Weaving character is almost always evil in the physical sense – Hugh grant in the sense of conspiracy (Basically if your name starts with Hu – you are a bad guy). Keith David is a rebel. Halle Barry represents curiosity or investigation. These characters are archetypical and live within each of us – the most interesting is Tom Hanks who plays both good and bad characters. In his futuristic storyline – he has a personal devil (Weaving) that tells him to do bad things – but he does not! This is because inside us all we are capable of good or bad, it's the decisions we make that define us. In his future story-line he chooses to be good. Ironically V for Vandetta – also written by the Wachowsky brothers has this similar theme of standing up to the man. An incredibly simple scene sums up the entire film. In the comedic story-line, near the end, the old escapees are in a bar having a beer when the cross dressing Weaving (who made it big as a cross dresser in Pricilla Queen of the Desert) arrives to take them back to the oppressive old age home. The little old man, who barely speaks a word (the little voice) stands up and incites a riot. Just as Halle Barry reveals a report that ends a conspiracy or Doona Bae's viral video that incites an uprising that saves the lives of millions. The message here is a little voice can incite a thousand little voices. One singe drop. One single ripple. One perfect movie. If the message of Cloud Atlas is true then I hope that the creation of this film will inspire a million voices to make a million ripples. I for one am inspired. I will add to this review as I let the ripples spread in my mind. For now that's all I got.
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Spectacular
torontomovies11 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
One has to admire the sheer scale of this project. At times it may be hard to follow and you have to just let go and give up trying to understand what is happening, but I assure you it comes together at the end.

The chase scenes set in neo-seoul are heart-racing and extremely impressive. Doona Bae is spectacular as Somni 451.

Towards the end of the movie I was fighting back tears as 2 stories reached tragic conclusions.

The best part of this is that the Wachowskis/Tykwer have taken a massive risk and have done something new with a large 'pop' movie. It will no doubt divide audiences and a lot of the people who will be attracted by its sensational trailer will no doubt feel a bit alienated. But personally, I was blown away.
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1/10
Joined IMDb just so I could post a review on this movie
seestuart21 January 2013
It appears to me that all of the reviews on this movie are either 10/10 or 1/10. To all of those who boast this movie is "The best movie ever created" or "a most inspiring masterpiece", your reviews, to me, are incredibly naive. If you can actually decipher this movie then sure I suppose I can see where you get your "masterpiece" view. What's happening here though is that you are focusing purely on 'the story' and completely forgetting that it's a movie. You are finding some sort of poetry that makes sense to you and inspires you. Where you are naive is when you say 'the movie' is what is great. What is great, in reality, is the story. You would be just as well served by reading the book. The movie, however, is so horrible it's painful. If the movie was a Shakespearean play performed in Shakespearean times then I can understand how people could enjoy it. It honestly views as a play on a stage. The made up languages, accents, and ways of speaking are so outlandish it's impossible to follow, and horribly acted... The feeling of the movie is fake and incredibly laughable; especially when it's clear that the director was going for realism and suspense but failed so very horribly. If you are looking to be inspired and want to see what people are talking about with their 10/10 reviews then I would suggest you read the book. Or watch the movie, I don't care, but most of you will spend 3 hours of your life like I did wincing at the horribleness of this movie.
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6/10
Overly Ambitious and Jumbled
thedeepravine26 October 2012
The fact that you are interested in watching this film and that it was even made should be heralded as a collective success, because Cloud Atlas is a thought provoking film. Your personal and collective philosophies will be challenged, and your emotions will be engaged. Each of the six stories address mankind's struggle against seemingly inexorable systems/oppressors, and resolve that love can help us overcome the worst hell. Cloud Atlas also requires that you have a super-trained memory because the six story lines are jumbled and unnaturally presented. I don't mind a thinking man's movie, just as long as my brain doesn't attempt to shut down after being exhausted by the editor's brutal film gymnastics.

Three of Cloud Atlas' story lines are wildly entertaining. That also means that three are also lacking. If you are willing to accept that you may have to either take a notepad with you to keep track of the story lines and trudge through some uninspired acting (sometimes Hanks & Berry are flat), or commit yourself ahead of time to watch this film twice, then go out and purchase your ticket. Otherwise, wait for the film to come out on Netflix.
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2/10
While watching, you'll constantly be asking three questions: Who? What? And why?
jessemorrison9929 October 2012
The Good: The music was very well done. Also, most of the acting was right on. There was one performance, however, that was stiffer than Kristen Stewart's corpse.

The Bad: This movie breaks the fundamental rules of storytelling. Now, this could sound like a good thing, had it been done well, but it wasn't. I'm all for breaking the rules. That's how movies these days stand out from the dozens of remakes, reboots, sequels and prequels. But this one didn't work. Imagine for me this if you would: Take one random episode of each of your 9 favourite TV shows. Now cut each one into sections of less than 60 seconds, then splice them all together in a seemingly random way. This is an accurate representation of the three hours that is cloud atlas. Does that sound like an appealing way to absorb 9+ different stories? All being inter-cut with one another until it's impossible to keep track of them? It also doesn't help that each character is played by the same actor. I know it's supposed to be their "past lives", but it just makes it more confusing.

Now I'm not going to jump on the love/hate bandwagon. There were good things about it, and bad things too. The idiots will say "It's stupid!" and the film snobs will say "Your IQ is low if you didn't get it." I understand that it was about a grand scale idea that our past lives affect our future lives, and vice versa. That's all good, but I think they could've gotten that point across with a less confusing movie. Honestly, I'd rather have watched a 3 hour movie about any one of its many sub-plots rather than all of them edited like this.

The shooting star birthmark held some significance (don't really know what exactly), but with all the dozens of characters, I can't remember for the life of me who had them and who didn't. Go into this movie expecting this: There is no one plot, there are several. However they're not depicted one after another, they all happen simultaneously, and it's your job to keep track and remember every detail. Hint: you won't.
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1/10
Atlas? No...AT LAST... THANK GOD it was over!
rv788 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The first 30 minutes of the movie were confusing. At about 60 minutes is got a bit interesting and I was looking forward to seeing how it would end. At 90 minutes I wanted it to wrap up. At 2 hours I REALLY wanted to leave. By 2.5 hours my legs were restless, and the other couple we were there with was also obviously giddy to depart. After 3 hours when it FINALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLY ended, I was THRILLED -- not with the movie but to get out of there.

Over the years Tom Hanks has made one good decision after another. This movie was not another good decision for him or Halle Berry. I understood the symbolism of how the character's decisions impacted prior and future reincarnations. This was obvious rather quickly. Jesus Christ famously told his important thoughts 3 times... but 6 times was at least 3 times (and 60 minutes) too many! The highlight of this dreadful movie was the character escaping from the mental institution for the aged in about the middle of the film. His "soilent green is people" comment foretold the conclusion and supposed climax of the film. Yes, we not AT ALL surprisingly learned the genetically engineered race of nubile Asian sex kitten waitresses were raised as mere protein to be fed to later generations of entertainers/waitresses once they passed their 12-year adult shelf life. I GOT IT! We ALL got it.., how did anyone not see this was coming? But, I did not need to hear her give the same speech over and over throughout the film from different angles and through different media. BTW, I also found the make-up rather disconcerting, and the odd Cajun-esque/Gaelic brogue of the future more than annoying, and also rather unnecessary.

BUT, AT LAST... the movie was over to the groan of the audience. Frankly, I can't understand how so many people seem to like this terrible film! We go to the movie theater every Wednesday, and in a year of mediocre and bad movies, this monstrosity is likely the worst! I rate it a 1 on this scale... but 10 rotten tomatoes on another.
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