Writer: Wilson ChongWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"The Time Machine” and “The Fountain”
"Cloud Atlas" is best described as an artistic mosaic of stories which links to each other. Praises should be given to the three directors of this film, Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski (formerly Larry Wachowski but publicly came out as a transsexual in 2012) and Andy Wachowski. Still, "Cloud Atlas" is not an easy task for this trio to adapt from its original written form which was authored by David Mitchell back in 2004.
There are six different worlds compressed into almost three hours of on-screen time and are connected to each other through the mediums of a journal, a letter, a movie and a book manuscript.
To tap briefly into the worlds; The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing tells the friendship developed between Adam Ewing and Autua, a Moriori slave in the year 1849 as he sails on a ship from San Francisco to Chatham Islands. Letters from Zedelghem tells the story of bisexual Robert Frobisher in the year 1936 who found work as an amanuensis to a famous composer, Vyvyan Ayrs. Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery is about the adventures of Luisa Rey, a journalist investigating a nuclear reactor conspiracy in the year 1973. The Ghostly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish tells the story of Timothy Cavendish, a book publisher who staged a break out of a bizarre nursing home in the year 2012. An Orison of Sonmi-451 is about a genetically-engineered clone, Sonmi-451 who became the figurehead of a rebellion in the year 2144. Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After tells the story of Zachry, a primitive tribesman and how he met Meronym, a woman from a technologically advanced culture in the year 2321.
The movie presents interwoven storylines of these six worlds with the theme of ripple effect. The future is shaped by the past, while the present slowly changes into the past. Each action and event is linked to each other. The interwoven storylines could confuse viewers since it keeps with the method of jumping between worlds.
Amongst many, the movie has a sub-theme of homosexuality as depicted in Robert Frobisher's relationship with Rufus Sixsmith along with others such as slavery, environmental protection, freedom and religion.
The movie casts top tier actors and actresses with great results. Among them are Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant and Halle Berry. Tom Hanks can be seen showing his versatility as an actor in this film with his role of the villainous Dr. Henry Goose, a greedy Hotel Manager, the intellectual Isaac Sachs, gangster Dermot Hoggins, a Cavendish look-a-like actor and the conflicted Zachry. Each role is different and Tom Hanks performance is incredible. Hugo Weaving can be seen displaying his affinity for playing villainous roles as well.
The special effects team for this movie has done a great job. It is possible to tell each of the worlds apart based on costumes and setting. The actors play multiple roles in each world, thus requiring a different look for each role. One particular character worth noting under makeup is a bearded Halle Berry in An Orison of Sonmi-451. Each world, from the sailing ship of Adam Ewing to the futuristic Korea of Sonmi-451, has been designed beautifully in great detail.
For those who have read the book before watching the movie, don't worry. The basic plot-line is similar to the novel but many elements were re-written, deleted and added. For example: The predictions that Zachary got is shortened from 3 to 1, Sonmi-451 stay at the university is deleted, Timothy Cavendish's epilogue is added. The novelist himself, David Mitchell, approved of the changes for the adaptation in a foreword of his novel dated September 2012.
In conclusion, this independently financed film at the cost of more than US$100 million is worth watching a second and third time. Don't leave the cinema too fast at the end credits because "Cloud Atlas Sextet", composed by Robert Frobisher, is played as the end credits song.Cinema Online, 29 January 2013