Cloud Atlas Movie Review (5.3/10 – Good)
Review by THR
Tom Hanks and Halle Berry star in the much-anticipated adaptation of David Mitchell’s novel from the Wachowskis and Tom Twyker.
TORONTO — Not quite soaring into the heavens, but not exactly crash-landing either, Cloud Atlas is an impressively mounted, emotionally stilted adaptation of British author David Mitchell’s bestselling novel. Written and directed by the Wachowski siblings and Tom Tykwer, this hugely ambitious, genre-jumping, century-hopping epic is parts Babel and Tree of Life, parts Blade Runner, Amistad and Amadeus, with added doses of gore, CGI, New Age kitsch, and more prosthetics than a veterans hospital in wartime. One of the priciest independent films ever made (on a purported budget of $100 million), Atlas will rely on its chameleon cast to scale a 3-hour running time and reach the box office heights needed for this massive international co-production.
Mitchel’s 500-plus page book garnered several literary prizes and a huge following after it was first published in 2004, but many would have said that the novel’s unique structure–where multiple stories in different time periods are told chronologically from past to future and then back again—was impossible to adapt to the big screen.
Review by Film.com
“Cloud Atlas” is like the entire “Matrix” trilogy in micro. It starts out absolutely brilliantly, then segues into a pretentious slog. It is ambitious and bold has many intensely clever moments, but to say it fails to come together is almost beside the point. It chooses a form in which to make its thesis that, while oftentimes artful, is ultimately detrimental to the movie. One is left wondering what the movie is hiding, why the three-card Monte style won’t just let you get a good look at the story to judge it on its own.
“Cloud Atlas” is actually six short narratives set in different time periods, like a double of “The Hours” or “Intolerance” plus two. For extra flavor, the stories are ostensibly different genres, too — historical adventure, costume drama, mystery, Miramax-y comedy, space opera and “Lost”-like heavy allegory. There’s a rep theater’s worth of actors playing different roles, with the same actor having similar characteristics in each of the sequences. (E.G. Hugo Weaving is a baddie whether an monocle’d German prior to WWII, a hired killer in a leather jacket, a Romulan-looking enforcer or a blonde-wigged Nurse Ratched type in an old folks’ home.)
Review by Guardian
An artichoke that fires lasers; montages that span the ages; Jim Broadbent saying “ruddy”; women on conveyer belts in the nuddy; evil oil partisans; bed-hopping artisans; parasitic brain worms; Halle Berry with a perm; sex, death, love, space; cannibals, parables, war, race.
Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and Andy and Lana Wachowski (the Matrix trilogy) are banking on there being something in that lot that catches your eye. The co-directors of this adaptation of David Mitchell’s Booker prize short-listed novel, who reportedly coaxed $100m out of independent financiers to convert the book to the screen, have taken a big risk with this roaming behemoth of a movie.