Review: Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas

  • Starring:  Tom Hanks (The Da Vinci Code), Halle Berry (Monster’s Ball), Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge) and more.
  • Directed by: Andy Wachowski & Lana Wachowski (The Matrix) and Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run)
  • Synopsis: “From acclaimed filmmakers Lana Wachowskie, Tom Tykwer, and Andy Wachowski, the powerful and inspiring epic drama “CLOUD ATLAS” explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Action, mystery and romance weave dramatically through the story as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in the distant future.” (-Official site)
  • Rated: Rated R for violence, nudity, language, sexual situations, and brief drug reference.
  • Director’s Introduction:

After watching the above introduction from the 3 directors of this epic, now enjoy the 5+ minute trailer followed by my thoughts on the multi-faceted film, Cloud Atlas.

Here is the extended trailer:

The Wachowski siblings, along with director Tom Tykwer, bring an adaptation of author David Mitchell’s 2004 novel Cloud Atlas to audiences around the world. This story with a universal message places emphasis on varying subjects and themes of humanity and the unifying connections that we make.

A pioneering look that seeks to erase the boundaries of time, gender, race and creed.

Movie lovers will find themselves either absolutely enthralled by the beauty of the film, its message, its uniqueness and blend or they will find themselves absolutely appalled by the seemingly randomness and back-and-forth storytelling that can at times be confusing, along with the varying costumes/makeup and artsy cinematography.

The film is, by far, bold. And I can appreciate that. If you can make it through the rather confusing and stage-setting first 45 mins or so, then the remaining 130 minutes won’t be so bad. The Wachowskis’ attempt at blowing the minds of moviegoers once again with something not seen before (such as The Matrix) is successful as, not only do we follow six different interweaving storylines in six completely different timelines that, when compiled together, are truly part of 1 mega story, but we also see over 12 different actors play varying parts in those different timelines. Truly unique and showing off the acting abilities of the actors involved, the technique tends to take away from the film as well as I sat there throughout the movie, at times, trying to figure out if that person was Halle Berry as a man or Hugo Weaving as a brutish looking woman or Jim Sturgess as a future Korean fugitive.

(My advice: on the first time watching, put aside trying to figure out who’s who and just enjoy the performances and the story. Worry about that on your second viewing as the film will leave you possibly wanting to see it another time to have better clarity overall. It can be hard follow from time to time.)

“Bold and Beautiful” is definitely how I would describe Cloud Atlas. Polarizing, political, and philosophical is another way too. I was impressive with the unique storytelling, although a bit unconventional it is also untraditional which makes it both refreshing and original. The connectivity of the characters, their actions, and their ideas/desires seeks to bring a message to the audience that each person and their own actions/ideas/desires are both important and impactful, regardless of race, gender, etc.

Though confusing at times (along with a confusing semi-English language used in a dystopian future) and while it does go a bit long with some parts that may be a bit unexpected, Cloud Atlas also carries with it some unexpected humor, personal connections, and beauty that combines story with self-actualization allowing there to be something in this film for everyone to relate to.

Filled with joy and love, laughter, sadness, fear, compassion, excitement, smiles and tears, I left the theater astonished yet confounded, amused yet contemplative, amazed yet challenged. I will be watching it again, and encourage you to check it out too.

Kudos to the soundtrack. I love the Cloud Atlas sextet (click HERE to listen to it):

Cloud Atlas, a bold and beautiful film that crosses boundaries and challenges both the mind and the soul of its audiences on an engrossing grandiose scale. It reaches out to touch all with a message of human likeness, dependability, and love in a way never done before. Enjoy, if you will, as I know this one will continue to be polarizing among audiences.

Score:  4 out of 5 stars for Cloud Atlas

Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

T, The Focused Filmographer


  1. Good review. I’m pretty sure me and my dad are going to try to catch this in theaters, so hopefully i will end up agreeing with you on it

    Also, i’m hoping this does good for my FD draft 🙂


  2. Yeah, I guess let the polarizing begin… I’m not that big a fan. Although you’re 100% right, it’s beautiful, ambitious, original… I just didnt think it all held together. I cant give it a bad grade of any kind or anything, but Im thinking my recommendation will be severely qualified….

    Glad you dug it so much, it didnt connect that well with me, and it asks a LOT of the audience.


    • this will be a fun movie to continue to discuss. Yeah, as soon as I left the theater I wasn’t sure about how I felt, but then sitting down and thinking about it for a day really helped me take it all in.

      I was impressed with how they took a “book that was an unmakeable movie” and made it into a movie. ha. although the heavy makeup costumes bothered me at times. LOL


  3. Hi, Terrence and company:

    I don’t know. I’ve seen a lot of clips for this film.

    It certainly looks luscious, but I get the creeping feeling that the CGI and effects are going to override the cast. Which is pretty admirable and up there for a project of this size.

    Have to wait and see. Though I have no qualms with a film that asks more questions than there are answers. That’s the basis of any good, Sci-Fi, fantasy or other story telling.


    • i think you might be genuinely surprised. while the CGI is def there, I’d say it was the cast that takes the cake, with the exception of a few of the costumes.

      I really look forward to your thoughts after seeing it. If you see it, I highly recommend doing so on the big screen. it’s one of those movies.


  4. Hey T! We plan to see this, so I’m not reading any reviews. I’m not sure we’ll make it this weekend. I’ve seen the trailer twice and both times it’s affected me deeply.


  5. Very well written defense of the movie. It just didn’t work on that level for me. I was very impressed with how well they pull off the fractured storytelling method. I also thought the visuals were stunning. But considering the huge scope and grandeur of the picture I still felt it was fairly shallow. There were a few other things I had problems with but I don’t want to say it was a terrible movie. It definitely does some things right.


    • Thanks Keith. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. I see your point on the shallowness possibly. not sure I’d use that term, but not sure what term I’d replace it with either. It definitely affects viewers in different ways. I’m glad I saw it.


  6. I finally watched this over the weekend. I’m still confused by a few parts of the story and how it all fits together, but I was kinda blown away.
    I think this movie will be different to everyone that watches it. There is just so much happening, that you tend to take away what affects you personally.
    I have to agree that the costumes/make-up didn’t do it completely for me at times, esp when Doona Bae is in the role of Jim Sturgess’ wife in the Adam Ewing storyline.
    I’d also give it a 4/5,


  7. […] Cloud Atlas- The Wachowski siblings (The Matrix) present the “unfilmable” book in a way that saw polarizing reception from audiences and critics alike. This genre-less and time-less film is a bold and ambitious venture of three directors along with the author and a great cast starring Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant and more in numerous roles. I very much enjoyed this film, but understand why others did not. FINALLY it comes to blu-ray. Check out my full thoughts in my review for this visual treat that was snubbed in award season HERE. […]


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