Cloud Atlas: A Cinematic Odyssey
While Cloud Atlas may be based on a novel, I quite honestly have never seen a film like it.
Now, for this film, their isn't exactly one story. It's pretty much six different short films thrown in as one feature-length film, but all stories carry the same theme:
The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing, 1849: Adam Ewing (Jim Sturgess), an American lawyer from San Francisco during the California Gold Rush, forms a bond with a slave who joins his crew as a freeman as he sails back home to his wife.
Letters from Zedelghem, 1931: Robert Frobisher (Ben Whishaw), a bisexual young musician, finds work as an amunensis to composer Vyvyan Ayrs, which allows Frobisher to find inspiration for his musical piece, the "Cloud Atlas" Sextet.
The First Luisa Rey Mystery, 1975: Journalist Luisa Rey (Halle Berry) discovers a conspiracy involving the safety of a nuclear reactor.
The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish, 2012: Publisher Timothy Cavendish (Jim Broadbent) finds himself in a rough situation as his gangster author's associates threaten him to receive their share of the profits of a book he had published. Once he turns to his brother for help, he then tricks him into being committed to a retirement home. He and a few other inmates then plot their escape.
An Orison of Sonmi-451, 2144: A clone named Somni-451 (Doona Bae) is being interviewed before her execution. She then recalls how she was released from her life of servitude as a restaurant server by a rebel movement and how she fell in love with its commander. As she was released, she was looking to make a public broadcast about how clones like her are "recycled" and used as food for future clones.
Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After: Set in a post-apocalyptic Hawaii, Zachry (Tom Hanks) and his family along with the rest of the people in his village, are often raided by a cannibalistic tribe. Their island is often discovered by a group of technologically sophisticated people known as the Prescients. When one Prescient named Meronym (Halle Berry) helps Zachry save his niece from a poisonous sting, he then takes her to the Cloud Atlas communications station in order for her to send a message to Earth's colonies.
What I Liked About It:
Now, for this part of my review, I would normally start off with discussing the acting or the directing, but the thing is the actors don't exactly play characters, but they play souls, as the film deals with the theme of reincarnation and how one soul moves on from one life and one time period to the next. But I thought that was really interesting, especially all the makeup effects that these actors went through as they starred in each story.
Another thing I liked was how each story had its own genre. "Adam Ewing" was sort of a romantic adventure, "Zedelghem" was a simple love story, "Luisa Rey" was an action thriller, "Timothy Cavendish" was a comedic caper, "Somni-451" was a dystopian sci-fi film, and while "Sloosha's" was sort of a sci-fi film, it had a post-apocalyptic setting.
Honestly, the thing I loved the most about this film, and this is something that I rarely ever feel about the movies that I watch, but I didn't even want the movie to end. While in my lifetime, I have seen films that I have watched over and over again, there have been very few films where I just wanted the experience to continue, and Cloud Atlas is one of them.
What I Didn't Like About It:
Overall, Cloud Atlas is a cinematic masterpiece that I hope to never forget. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it got me excited during the action scenes, and even gave me chills at some parts. This one I highly recommend.