Cloud Atlas Review

I generally don’t like to force myself to refrain from spoilers, so it’s very likely some will end up in this post. You have been warned.


Yesterday, I went with my mom to see Cloud Atlas. I had seen a lot of actor names I knew in the IMDB tweet linking the trailer x-number of months ago, and it looked interesting, at least.

At this point, I’m still not quite sure if I liked it. I’m squeamish and sensitive and guess I didn’t notice the R rating given to the movie nor am I sure it would have stopped me otherwise. Most of the movie isn’t graphic, violent, or filled with nudity, but there are parts that have those things, and at least two parts that made the squeamish person in me really uncomfortable and regretting my decision to go. But setting that aside, I will say that if nothing else, I found the movie interesting and ambitious, and I say those things as a commendation for its efforts.

It interweaves six different stories, putting several actors in various roles over these stories that all take place during different time periods.

There’s an overlying philosophy presented of everything having a connection, the idea that our kindness or our crimes have consequences over the span of these lifetimes, along with an idea that even through small actions in one lifetime, they amount to nothing but a drop in the ocean…well, what is an ocean but a multitude of drops?

From my own interpretation, not every actor is portraying the same soul being reincarnated in each story, but I think Tom Hanks is to represent a progression of one. In the earlier stories, he is an antagonist, often afflicted with greed, but in later stories, upon meeting Halle Berry’s character in a couple of stories, he comes to be a better person. I could be mistaken though and it just as easily be that he’s playing different types in different stories. But, this shift does happen with him being bad in the earlier time periods and ending good in the final time period-even in that time period, you see his character conflicted with deciding his actions for better or worse.

There’s also a love that trascends time, perhaps a bit of Hanks and Berry, but moreso with Jim Sturgess and Doona Bae encompassing primarily two stories (one in the past as a sick lawyer voyages back to the states and the other as a futuristic Korea). And there is talk of a belief between one of two gay lovers that they will meet again perhaps in another time as they have before.

The actors have roles with varying degrees of importance, crossing over different races and possibly genders to their own. In some cases, they easily slip by unnoticed until the credits tell you so and other times, you try examining a character closely trying to place them because you know they must be this person or that person.

I like that the movie has had me thinking over it since watching it, and perhaps will watch it again or multiple times while averting my eyes on the more sensitive areas. I’m not really sure.

One of the stories has Hanks and Berry speaking in a kind of dialect (“tru-tru” to mean “truth” for example). I have read this is intentional, but it also made following that story very difficult, and I think it should have at least been subtitled.

Maybe I’ll read the book sometime. Funny thing is I went because it looked interesting with hesitance for not being sure if I’d like it, and that’s how I feel even after seeing it: Well, that was interesting though I’m not sure if I liked it. I lean a little bit that way, liking it, simply because I keep wanting to read about it and re-visit it in my head compared to what others have had to say about it.