Have you been wondering about reincarnation, love, time travel and various human oddities? Then Cloud Atlas may just very well be the movie for you. Set in various time periods spinning intricate web around the same few characters, with love and growth being the firm grip between the souls that even death cannot break.
The start of the movie has one of the many characters Tom Hanks plays (later in his story line), he is sitting on what looks like a beach muttering to himself about the wind; “so many voices wrapped into one” or something like that. Then it takes us into another time period, each time showing us brief glimpses of characters and their intense stories you will fall deeply in love with.
To give a brief outline:
The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing
Starting somewhere in the Pacific Islands a young lawyer is meeting a plantation owner for a contract, while walking the out in the heat he makes eye contact with a slave that is being whipped this seen ends with the young man fainting. The doctor later diagnoses him with a parasitic worm and continues with his patient on the voyage back to San Francisco, after seeing a key on a gold chain around his patient’s neck of course. After being quarantined for being ill the lawyer finds that the slave he had earlier made eye contact with has stowed away to ask for this young man’s help, later we find it was the slave who was truly needed.
Letters from Zedelghem
We have a young male in love with another young male who is attending Cambridge; this timeline revolves around the young man writing letters to his lover who is still the university. He is a genius composer who will do anything (and apparently had done anyone we find out) to get to where he wants. After running off to work with a famous composer, the young man ends up creating his greatest work. This amazing piece becomes the young man’s curse, leaving him broken.
Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery.
Next we find an aspiring young journalist following her father’s footsteps in the 1970’s, driving down a bridge in a blue Volkswagen Beetle. Once arriving to the gate of her destination she is met with protestors and flyers claiming the danger of nuclear power. Later she meets a brilliant older scientist in a broken down elevator who struggles with himself to tell her something deathly important.
The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish
The character living in 2012 is an older man that works as a publisher, he finds success in a less than tasteful situation where an author murders another and his book starts to fly off the shelves. His story continues with the money running out just when he is approached by the author/murders “brothers” for, leaving him to go to his brother for help. The help ends up getting him stuck in quite a situation that is just absolutely hilarious and heartwarming.
An Orison of Sonmi~451
In our high tech future of hover cars the next character is a “fabricated” female, basically a clone, which is used in the service industry for a period time before they ascend. The storyline starts with an interview of basic questions which gives us the back story to this young lady. We find out that these women sleep, work, and eat in the same place until it is their time for ascension (never allowed out of course). She later escapes to see what life on the outside and what it truly means to ascend.
Sloosha’s Crossin’ an’ Ev’rythin’ After
Our next character is the young version of Tom Hanks character we met at the start of the movie. This storyline of far into the future well after a large nuclear explosion, society as we know it and have seen it throughout the movie has fallen (so has well-constructed grammar but I won’t go there right now). Plagued by hallucinations of a top hat wearing green tinted devil, and flash backs of hiding from cannibals this character displays an amount of pure courage and love that one cannot help but root for.
With so many stories to keep up with you can be completely lost if you get up to get popcorn or feel like you never missed a thing, which could be a plus, but the down side is if you miss a chuck of one’s story you may end up not understanding another’s portion of the story. At first it is a little frustrating to keep up each story, I had gone into the movie with no idea of what it was going to be; however once you hit each story a few times it starts to flow together seamlessly. Each character is it’s own but there is growth in the essence, you watch a greedy man turn in a civilization saving hero and the same snarky dangerous person dive deeper into a murderous hungry mind set.
The visual effects do not disappoint, of course they had a budget for it but the size of this is incredible. I’m not someone who is really qualified to give grand opinion on effects, so we may have to wait until Andrew or Nate can weight in and give you guys some more details on it.
My opinion of the movie is still spilt and I’m really not sure why, I walked out of the theatre trying to decide if I liked it. Even now writing this I find I want see the movie again to relive some of the characters journey, others I wouldn’t mind seeing again and there is one particular scene I could live my entire life without ever seeing and be happy (just thinking about it now *shudder*). I am very fond of the ending sequence, there are moments that bring you to the brink of tears, others make you smile, and one just makes you laugh uncontrollably. I guess that’s what a great movie does.
If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you do it’s a journey you won’t forget.
Also if you have seen the episode Nemesis from Star Trek Voyager and hated it because of the horrible “in two sleeps” you are not going to be fond of the dialogue in Sloosha’s Crossin’ an’ Ev’rythin’ After.