Cloud Atlas review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
Based on the award winning novel of the same name, which it in itself seems to have been inspired by various earlier literary greats, including Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (which many will known as the on screen adaptation Blade Runner) and Virginia Wolff’s Orlando, which too was adapted for the screen by Sally Potter.
Cloud Atlas however is a quasi-science fiction exploration of freedom and relationships, with several overlapping and yet seemingly unlinked storylines it uses the recurrence of the same actors in various roles to depict the way in which the actions and relationships of individuals have an impact upon the lives of others, even far into the distant future.
With a cast full of famous faces from both sides of the Atlantic Cloud Atlas could never be condemned for a lack of ability, whilst it’s directors have a real range of titles under the belt that suit the various themes of the film. These elements, along with the sparse but effective soundtrack, ensure that the individual stories are all very well accomplished, each telling its tale with the right amount of tension, drama and characterization.
The problem however comes when one tries to piece the individual stories together, like pieces of a second hand puzzle, without all its bits and pieces of sky from another box all together, the stories struggle to blend right up until the film’s final quarter. When they do fall into place however they fit in a really innovative and interesting fashion – don’t expect clean lines however, some of the connections are incredibly tenuous. My only qualm in this respect is the story of publisher Timothy Cavendish, whose brief stint in a retirement home seems like misguided light relief rather than contributing anything to the story itself.
This is a complete shame because the other aspects of the story are both heavily detailed and deep. This leads me to the films other flaw, its length, at a hefty 172 minutes there were several points at which I began to loose all faith of ever leaving my seat. A viscous edit, removing all the Cavendish nonsense, is very much in order – easily killing two birds with one stone.
All in all I thought Cloud Atlas was an interesting story, and watching the film certainly made me more intrigued about the novel, its foibles however were such that by the end of I was somewhat glad it was over.