What goes around comes around; when one door closes, another opens; treat others the way you want to be treated; the night is darkest before the dawn. I thought it best to get all of the stereotypical dialogue out there to prepare you for Cloud Atlas. Whether you like the story, acting and general concept or not, there is no disputing that the dialogue is god-awful. Even if Tom Hanks is the one reading a stupid line, it does not change the fact that the line is stupid.
The movie is long, almost 3 hours in length: this would not be an issue if the movie was not confusing, boring and overly sophisticated. I understand the point of meaningful movies that are meant to convey a message or theme, but even after its pitiful finale, the movie fails to deliver upon any greater revelation. Therefore, without any morale to take out from it, or the thrill of watching it, I am spent wondering what else I could have been doing with those three hours of my life.
The acting all around is surprisingly good, especially from veteran actors Tom Hanks and Halle Barry who add some Hollywood flare to the flat picture. The performances were good, but the make-up was absolutely benign and unbelievably pathetic. Instead of hiring Asian actors for many of the scenes, they thought it would be best to dress up some punks from Chicago in heavy masks with slanty eyes—not impressive. These issues with the make-up and costumes should not be an issue in a big-budget production like Cloud Atlas and ultimately interfere with relating to the characters.
In every good movie, there exists a sense of flow and continuity that drives the story and character development forward; that finely tuned flow is nowhere to be found in Cloud Atlas. The movie feels like it was actually 6 or 7 movies, disassembled and then put back together by a blind, deaf horse. Unfortunately, only one or two of those shambled threads are even the least bit interesting. Cloud Atlas attempts to tackle science fiction, comedy, action, romance and thriller—their ambition was too overreaching. Although highlights of the movie for me individually include an eccentric group of elderly citizens attempting an escape from a retirement village as well as Halle Berry’s string of investigations in the seventies.
The movie takes place between many story lines, different time periods and contrasting paradigms, which is an interesting idea. However, these story threads fail to connect to each other in a meaningful way, leaving the theatre audience (of which I was apart) uproarious and bitter. The only true sense of connection between the time periods that the trailers promised is in the credits, where it shows a photo montage. This was 3 hours too late and just preceded to infuriate the audience ever further.
Cloud Atlas once appeared to be a tale which would redefine the word “Epic”, but now after seeing this mess of cinematography and genre stereotypes, it is laughably bad. Perhaps you will like the movie more if you are a fan of the book, because the movie as a self-contained product certainly does not explain anything. There is no enlightenment that comes from watching the movie, only infuriation and pain-staking boredom. Cloud Atlas is a definitive example of aimless ambition and failed execution. Do not watch, rent or buy this movie: it doesn’t even deserve to be pirated online (that’s how disappointing it is).