Cloud Atlas (15)

Film

Cloud Atlas.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
Rate this
 

Time Out says

Tue Nov 8 2011

David Mitchell’s Booker-nominated 2004 novel ‘Cloud Atlas’ was a zeitgeist-grabber, but it always seemed a touch self-important, eager to ‘transcend’ its genre elements – comedy, sci-fi, mystery – as though Mitchell’s ambitions were somehow more worthwhile than his sources. The movie version has no such pretensions: in the hands of ‘Matrix’ directors the Wachowskis and ‘Run Lola Run’ helmer Tom Tykwer, ‘Cloud Atlas’ has become a technicolour explosion of a movie, an insanely ambitious, gorgeously realised and totally enthralling image-rush, which bounds from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again in the space of a heartbeat.

There are six stories here, spanning time (from 1849 to 2321) and distance (the Pacific islands to Edinburgh to ‘Neo Seoul’). The characters are linked only by a recurring comet-shaped birthmark, and the fact that they’re played by a revolving repertory company of familiar actors, led by Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and an impressive gaggle of notable British thesps.

This results in some of the most bizarre and borderline offensive casting choices in movie history: Hanks is terrific as an English doctor and an American scientist, but struggles as a rampaging Irish gangster-turned-author; Berry is perfect as a crusading Californian journalist but her appearance as a German-Jewish refugee is just creepy; Hugh Grant delivers the film’s juiciest turn as an oily power plant executive, but when he turns up as a tattooed futuristic cannibal warrior, the only appropriate response is laughter.

In a departure from the novel, all six stories are placed concurrently, and the result is a masterclass in cross-cutting. There’s not an ounce of fat here: each story has its own momentum, but thanks to a relentless series of cliffhangers and coincidences each tale also serves to drive the others forward, deepening the tension and resonance at every turn. The cumulative effect is unique and often breathtaking.

There are those who argue that ‘Cloud Atlas’ is undisciplined, overambitious and very silly. All of this is true, but when in epic cinema have those qualities been a hindrance? This is a movie which cuts from spry comedy in an Edinburgh old folks’ home to an eyepopping flying car chase in futuristic Korea without breaking stride; a film which casts Hugo Weaving as a Nazi conductor, a bleach-blond contract killer, a big-breasted nurse and Old Greg from ‘The Mighty Boosh’; a film which piles on the action, the romance, the philosophical inquiry and the silly accents until the viewer is left punch-drunk and reeling. Seriously, what’s not to love?

0

Reviews

Add +

Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Feb 22, 2013

Duration:

172 mins

Users say

0
<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|17
1 person listening
Seporad

I loved this film. Call me a movie lover and not a critic. I thought the roles were well done, and the accents did not bother me at all. The deeper thought provoking issues of slavery, entrapment, determinism, free will, the soul, religion, and so on were planted and explored. If the goal of a movie is to get you thinking about long after it's finished, this is dead on.

Seporad

I loved this film. Call me a movie lover and not a critic. I thought the roles were well done, and the accents did not bother me at all. The deeper thought provoking issues of slavery, entrapment, determinism, free will, the soul, religion, and so on were planted and explored. If the goal of a movie is to get you thinking about long after it's finished, this is dead on.

Mark

I thought this was definitely worth a watch, but can totally understand why it divides audiences, it's certainly not for everyone. There's a bit of everything in this movie, humour, action, romance - I guess one of the issues is it does none of them brilliantly, but all of them well. It' nicely directed and interesting enough to keep you watching, even if it is 3 hours long. You do end up getting a bit obsessed with the 'Where's Wolly' style of spotting the lead actors in their various roles, which is fun but can detract at times.

Beaulieu

The only thing that was good was the comedy and scenery. But I hated the extreme violence - relentless shooting, people getting shot in the mouth and even worse, an attempted beheading, very insensitive in light of the recent London Woolwich beheading attack. Inappropriate. Just a terrible violence crazed brutal film.

Sam Sara

An entertaining roller coaster from beginning to end that attempts to paint a much bigger picture of life than the usual run of the mill cinema fodder. The underlying theme will challengethe cherished assumptions of some and ask them to' think outside the box' or even, as reviewers have recommended, suspend the thinking process until the film has finished. Yes, some critics have panned it while others have given it the thumbs up and a hearty nod of approval. There are several messages intertwined in this film, from karmic accountability in a succession of lives (reincarnation) to the conviction that only the individuals who CAN think outside the box are able to bring about a sea change of opinion and bring about change. This film will almost certainly become a cult classic, not least because it breaks with convention on many levels. Just go and see it!

critique

An interesting curiosity. Not sure the whole thing comes off but I applaud the intent.

Justin Berkovi

This is what cinema is all about. A wonderful and oddly meaningful journey imbued with complete and absolute cinematic passion. Brilliant.

Justin Berkovi

This is what cinema is all about. A wonderful and oddly meaningful journey imbued with complete and absolute cinematic passion. Brilliant.

fueldragster

I see that professional reviews tend to be polarised for this film, I am firmly on the thumbs up side and despair at the lack of consistency with recent film reviews. If we take Django for instance there seems to be a now habitual response for some hacks to cream themselves with regard to other movie references in a Tarantino film. I don't see the point in boosting a film purely on that aspect but if, in hack-land, that is the way things work then surely they should be gushing over Cloud Atlas. I noted Matrix (no surprise there), Bladerunner, Soylent Green, POTC and Bullitt (no money left in the budget to tape over those red tail stripes?) plus any others that I missed. As regarding provoking thought on slavery Cloud Atlas stomps all over Django and Lincoln given that it covers multiple forms. I agree that Hank's voice is not that convincing as Dermott Hoggins, nor was Weaving's remaining stubble as Nurse Noakes but I reckon that playing out of character must have been an attraction for several of the cast. Agreed that Sturgess's asian makeup looks odd but it does not ruin things and I admit to being fooled by Ms Berry's european look for quite a while. I have not read the book but, since viewing the film, have spoken to someone who has. If I understand correctly the 2144 Korean section (which is the core element) has been stripped down, there is no thrust regarding the fingertip chip, the need to be a consumer or the 1984 style entrapment/double-cross but this certainly is my favorite part of the film. Full credit to the set designer, digital artists and animators, the exterior views are exceptional. If you simply cannot abide a film that switches thread then I suggest you avoid it purely because of that limitation but everyone else should give it a try, go no provoke some thoughts and discuss later. I reckon that it is the best film on UK screens so far this year and probably for the last 12 months. I won't guarantee that you will like it but I'd suggest that those that are disappointed simply have NeO SeOUL.

fueldragster

I see that professional reviews tend to be polarised for this film, I am firmly on the thumbs up side and despair at the lack of consistency with recent film reviews. If we take Django for instance there seems to be a now habitual response for some hacks to cream themselves with regard to other movie references in a Tarantino film. I don't see the point in boosting a film purely on that aspect but if, in hack-land, that is the way things work then surely they should be gushing over Cloud Atlas. I noted Matrix (no surprise there), Bladerunner, Soylent Green, POTC and Bullitt (no money left in the budget to tape over those red tail stripes?) plus any others that I missed. As regarding provoking thought on slavery Cloud Atlas stomps all over Django and Lincoln given that it covers multiple forms. I agree that Hank's voice is not that convincing as Dermott Hoggins, nor was Weaving's remaining stubble as Nurse Noakes but I reckon that playing out of character must have been an attraction for several of the cast. Agreed that Sturgess's asian makeup looks odd but it does not ruin things and I admit to being fooled by Ms Berry's european look for quite a while. I have not read the book but, since viewing the film, have spoken to someone who has. If I understand correctly the 2144 Korean section (which is the core element) has been stripped down, there is no thrust regarding the fingertip chip, the need to be a consumer or the 1984 style entrapment/double-cross but this certainly is my favorite part of the film. Full credit to the set designer, digital artists and animators, the exterior views are exceptional. If you simply cannot abide a film that switches thread then I suggest you avoid it purely because of that limitation but everyone else should give it a try, go no provoke some thoughts and discuss later. I reckon that it is the best film on UK screens so far this year and probably for the last 12 months. I won't guarantee that you will like it but I'd suggest that those that are disappointed simply have NeO SeOUL.

Jacqueline O. Moleski

Cloud Atlas is a most unusual and mindblowingly awesome film. The first hour or so (I’d estimate) will have you thinking, “What the … is going on?� over and over, but if you stick with it, all will become clear. And the film just keeps getting more and more complex, and more and more awesome as it goes on. The film is a serious treatment of the idea of Reincarnation, however, to describe it as “just that� does not do this simply brilliant film justice. The storyline follows a pair of lovers over and over through different time-lines and parts of the world - yet it doesn’t do so in a straight-forward, “yawn�, sort of way. The film is brilliantly shot, but, again, not simply in the “oh that is gorgeous� sort of way or even in the “WOW - what an effects shot� sort of way either. It’s just simply mind-blowing, especially as you start to figure out what is going on. Each of the principle actors of the film plays multiple parts, so yes, part of the fun of the movie is spotting Jim Broadbent, Tom Hanks, and Halle Barry over and over again in different times and as different people (as well as most of the rest of the cast including: Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bea, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, and James D’Arcy among others). But this film isn’t simply brilliant because all the principles play multiple roles in different times and places. The world building - which is multi-dimensional - is just as complex and convoluted as the interconnected plot. That the plot finishes and makes sense and works is part of what makes this such an “omg� film. I saw it in a small theater and the audience sat in stunned silence for a few minutes before anyone even got up, moved, or left. The actors are brilliant in this. Even Hanks, whom I don’t personally like and I find very over-rated does a good job playing multiple characters without always being “Tom Hanks�. Halle Berry, normally type-cast as a “sex kitten� is phenomenal. Ben Whishaw and James D’Arcy are simply incredible — and it took me until after I gotten home to finally realise where I’d seen Whishaw before (In the BBC drama - “The Hour� and as Q in “Skyfall�). Broadbent, of course, is a British character actor who can do anything. And at the heart, the film revolves around Doona Bea and her characters — all I can say is, “what an actress!� Quite simply a must see film. It’s almost impossible to describe why this film is so incredible, but it simply is. I think I now know what people in the 1960s first thought when they saw the famous film 2001 - because this is just as mind-blowing if not more so, and it’s not centered on European/American culture. Brilliantly, brilliantly done. By the way, to the reviewer who didn't understand the language the tribal speech. It's actually Pigeon - which is a real language.

Jacqueline O. Moleski

Cloud Atlas is a most unusual and mindblowingly awesome film. The first hour or so (I’d estimate) will have you thinking, “What the … is going on?� over and over, but if you stick with it, all will become clear. And the film just keeps getting more and more complex, and more and more awesome as it goes on. The film is a serious treatment of the idea of Reincarnation, however, to describe it as “just that� does not do this simply brilliant film justice. The storyline follows a pair of lovers over and over through different time-lines and parts of the world - yet it doesn’t do so in a straight-forward, “yawn�, sort of way. The film is brilliantly shot, but, again, not simply in the “oh that is gorgeous� sort of way or even in the “WOW - what an effects shot� sort of way either. It’s just simply mind-blowing, especially as you start to figure out what is going on. Each of the principle actors of the film plays multiple parts, so yes, part of the fun of the movie is spotting Jim Broadbent, Tom Hanks, and Halle Barry over and over again in different times and as different people (as well as most of the rest of the cast including: Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bea, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, and James D’Arcy among others). But this film isn’t simply brilliant because all the principles play multiple roles in different times and places. The world building - which is multi-dimensional - is just as complex and convoluted as the interconnected plot. That the plot finishes and makes sense and works is part of what makes this such an “omg� film. I saw it in a small theater and the audience sat in stunned silence for a few minutes before anyone even got up, moved, or left. The actors are brilliant in this. Even Hanks, whom I don’t personally like and I find very over-rated does a good job playing multiple characters without always being “Tom Hanks�. Halle Berry, normally type-cast as a “sex kitten� is phenomenal. Ben Whishaw and James D’Arcy are simply incredible — and it took me until after I gotten home to finally realise where I’d seen Whishaw before (In the BBC drama - “The Hour� and as Q in “Skyfall�). Broadbent, of course, is a British character actor who can do anything. And at the heart, the film revolves around Doona Bea and her characters — all I can say is, “what an actress!� Quite simply a must see film. It’s almost impossible to describe why this film is so incredible, but it simply is. I think I now know what people in the 1960s first thought when they saw the famous film 2001 - because this is just as mind-blowing if not more so, and it’s not centered on European/American culture. Brilliantly, brilliantly done. By the way, to the reviewer who didn't understand the language the tribal speech. It's actually Pigeon - which is a real language.

HappyNewYearFromAmsterdam

This movie got its Dutch premiere during the Amsterdam Film Week 2012 in november 2012 with the gracious presence of Miss Susan Sarandon herself (!) and was released in the local cinemas shortly after that. I saw it during the Christmas holidays: it was quite a mind-blogging experience and probably one of the most ambitious films ever made. I really liked and enjoyed the *Korean* sequences and especially seeing the talented Jim Sturgess with his *Asian* look! This movie will probably not win any Oscars (it just might though in the technical aspects or deserved to anyway). Worth seeing this movie as far as I am concerned just to see the apparent huge effort the makers have gone to to get the complex book transferred onto the big screen. But it's awfully long as well at almost three hours. For me though there was never a dull moment as there was so much happening within those three hours.

Robertinspain

I was blown away by this film. To successfully combine seemlessly 6 stories as one is an amazing achievement for for the director. As soon as I finished watching I new I would have to see it again. IMDB has a very good synopsis of all the stories which is a gread aid. The only downside was the Tom Hanks/Halle Berry apocalypse story where the tribal speech was very difficult to understand. Also as so many parts are played by the same actors in the different stories one has to quickly realise that they are a different character.

Alan

Saw this in the States in October. Great film - a bit like going out and seeing six films of different genres in one evening, though nowhere near as tiring! The real fun though is seeing how they all link and also spotting all the different roles played by each actor/actress - was left thinking about this for a long time afterwards. That said, it's certainly not without its flaws and some of the stories work a lot better than others, but I'll certainly go and see it again when it's released over here.