What a remarkable surprise, entering with massive trepidation, realizing after fifteen minutes that “I really liked it”.
“Cloud Atlas”, (referring to a symphony composed as the film progresses ) is based upon the novel by David Mitchell, directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski (“The Matrix”); it is elegant, beautiful, lyrical, metaphorical, comical, confusing and confounding; a feast for the imagination; my best advice is to let “Cloud Atlas” imprison your mind’s eye, take reign and gallop with one of the most ambitious, compelling stories in recent film. Confusion eventually morphs into understanding as we watch a myriad of talented actors assume various personages, gender changes, good/evil depictions through three disparate eras.
Halle Berry and Tom Hanks are the principal standard -bearers, storytellers; they are magnificent speaking a bastardized pig -Latin; with attentive listening, the viewer adjusts, meaning is clarified. Jim Broadbent adds Shakespearian comic relief as publisher, “Timothy Cavendish”; his escape from a home for the ageing, mentality deficient, is hilarious. Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Hugo Wearing, Jim Sturgess, Keith David, James D’ Arcy, and ethereal, Korean Donna Bae appear at different times, in various, barely discernable guises.
At the core of this remarkable film is the question, pathos, comprehension of reincarnation; are we all contemporary versions of past selves? “Cloud Atlas” gifts resounding affirmativeness of previous lives, loves, chances lost, regained.
The film is flawed, oftentimes too surreal, too long (almost 3 hours) poorly edited, but its heart is grand; pulsating with vision and fortitude, “Cloud Atlas” transcends the ordinary, resonating with dazzling, luminous, extraordinary ingenuity.
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!