Cloud Atlas Review: What Does it All Mean?

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First and foremost Cloud Atlas is the most ambitious film we've ever seen. The movie spans generations, continents and universes while its ensemble tackles a half dozen roles in six existentially connected storylines.

Cloud Atlas Stills
Tom Hanks and Halle Berry may lead the cast, but Cloud Atlas is truly a group effort on so many fronts. The success of the film lies with the astounding love of language and story in author David Mitchell’s blockbuster book. Filmmakers Tom Tykwer and Lana and Andy Wachowski penned a script and crafted a film worthy of the book’s scope and breadth.

Then there are the hundreds of donors across the globe that put money together, outside of the studio system, to ensure the $100 million “indie” film even saw the light of day. Creatively, everyone involved took a pay cut to ensure that Cloud Atlas be the earth-shaking movie it could be, as its ensemble of Hanks, Berry, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Wishaw and James D’Arcy could then dive in and create a modern masterpiece. 

Cloud Atlas begins with an astonishingly aged Hanks, sitting outside in the dark, walking stick in hand, telling a story that sets the stage for our adventure meets love story meets sci-fi epic that delves into the meaning of human existence and our inner-connectiveness and the power of that when it is consciously realized by those who bear “the mark.”
Hugh Grant in Cloud Atlas
“The mark” is a birthmark on six different characters that looks like a shooting star. There is one in each of the six storylines and how they interconnect is nothing short of ingenious storytelling. Mitchell may have provided the framework, but the Wachowskis and Tykwer have performed a movie miracle by pulling out the most cinematically worthy moments in the book and weaving them in a web that makes sense, resonates and most importantly, makes you forget that you’re witnessing a three-hour film.

Among the highlights for Movie Fanatic is the part of the story involving the tragic tale of love between Winshaw’s Robert Frobisher and D’Arcy’s Sixsmith. Prepare for a weep of the highest nature as their story progresses. Berry and Hanks show killer chemistry on several fronts, from the 1970s San Francisco-set journalism exposé on nuclear power segment to the future (or is it past?) post-apocalyptic tribal journey that audiences gradually learn may hold the key to all of the intertwining plots.

Then, there is the wizardry of Weaving. The star of the upcoming The Hobbit is a clear antagonist throughout Cloud Atlas, yet the six parts he plays are so varied in their motivations that it allows the actor to push himself further into a pitch-perfect performance across the entire film that will go down as his absolute best.
Halle Berry, Tom Hanks Hugh Grant Cloud Atlas
Our screening was weeks ago and yet in the time that has passed between then and the writing of this Cloud Atlas review, this writer cannot shake it still. The film produces a rush of adjectives, not the least of which is: Profound, brilliant, beautiful, unforgettable and epic.

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (65 Votes)
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era 1 Donna Bae Marked Jim Sturgess
era 2 marked Ben Whishaw
era 3 marked Hally Berry
era 4 marked Jim Broadbent
era 5 marked Doona Bae
era 6 marked Tom Hanks Era 1 Donna and Jim are husband and wife who are told
there is a certain order of things and that people who
disrupt that order are doomed. They are deeply in love Era 2 Ben is marked and has a homosexual love with James D'Arcy.
another deeply in love team. Durring his time reads a book that
is a journal by Jim. Also sleeping with Hally and killing her
husband setting her free. Era 3 Hally meets her true love for the first time, but he is
killed in a plane explossion. Durring this time hally meets Ben's
lover and reads his letters. Then the lover is shot threw the
mouth killing him just as his lover Ben had killed himself. Era 4 Jim B is marked and was to
much of a coward to get his true love until the end. But was
writing a move that later stared tom Hanks and was viewed by
Donna. Also was Hallys Husband in a previous Era in which she
was no more than a trophie. He also read a manuscript of her
story in this era. Era 5 Donna is marked. One of the orriganal 2. She fights along
side her true love after she is set free by him. They both die
in fighting for a right cause. Before She dies she sees a movie
that stars tom and is writen by Jim. Era 6 tom is marked. He meets Hally again. This time above
everything else he helps her. They save each other from
everything going on and end up together in old age. The general theme in the movie is love. Every character has thier
true love in each of thier eras, and is inspired by the previously
marked in some shape or form to end up with this love. The first
set start together and end together. They start the whole movie
off although you do not know this until the end of the movie.
You will also see that when that love is completely absent from
an era, the other partner does not survive. Just like in era 6, Jim
dies by the canibal as does Jim B's partner. Without the
pressence of your true love there is no life, and love will always
find you even threw time.

Avatar

era 1 Donna Bae Marked Jim Sturgess
era 2 marked Ben Whishaw
era 3 marked Hally Berry
era 4 marked Jim Broadbent
era 5 marked Doona Bae
era 6 marked Tom Hanks Era 1 Donna and Jim are husband and wife who are told
there is a certain order of things and that people who
disrupt that order are doomed. They are deeply in love Era 2 Ben is marked and has a homosexual love with James D'Arcy.
another deeply in love team. Durring his time reads a book that
is a journal by Jim. Also sleeping with Hally and killing her
husband setting her free. Era 3 Hally meets her true love for the first time, but he is
killed in a plane explossion. Durring this time hally meets Ben's
lover and reads his letters. Then the lover is shot threw the
mouth killing him just as his lover Ben had killed himself. Era 4 Jim B is marked and was to
much of a coward to get his true love until the end. But was
writing a move that later stared tom Hanks and was viewed by
Donna. Also was Hallys Husband in a previous Era in which she
was no more than a trophie. He also read a manuscript of her
story in this era. Era 5 Donna is marked. One of the orriganal 2. She fights along
side her true love after she is set free by him. They both die
in fighting for a right cause. Before She dies she sees a movie
that stars tom and is writen by Jim. Era 6 tom is marked. He meets Hally again. This time above
everything else he helps her. They save each other from
everything going on and end up together in old age. The general theme in the movie is love. Every character has thier
true love in each of thier eras, and is inspired by the previously
marked in some shape or form to end up with this love. The first
set start together and end together. They start the whole movie
off although you do not know this until the end of the movie.
You will also see that when that love is completely absent from
an era, the other partner does not survive. Just like in era 6, Jim
dies by the canibal as does Jim B's partner. Without the
pressence of your true love there is no life, and love will always
find you even threw time.

Avatar

months later and I'm still trying to tie loose ends together - is there more to the underlying focus on "six"? Six dialects, six stories, six components to the comet, six eras, more....what is the author thinking?

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@ bGunn

what about when tom hanks dies in plane crash,he meets halle berry so he does find his love and sumni 451 or whatever dies and so does her lover

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Brilliant. Didnt realise how quickly the 3 hours flew. Was kind of sad that it finished as I wanted to just keep on and on watching !!!!
A must watch for any serious movie fanatic

Avatar

Brilliant. Didnt realise how quickly the 3 hours flew. Was kind of sad that it finished as I wanted to just keep on and on watching !!!!
A must watch for any serious movie fanatic

Cloud Atlas Review

First and foremost Cloud Atlas is the most ambitious film we've ever seen. The movie spans generations, continents and universes while...

Read Review Editor Rating
  • 5.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (65 Votes)

Cloud Atlas Trailer