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FILM: Review - Cloud Atlas

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Cloud Atlas is complicated.

A film consisting of six tales with the reoccurring lives of characters over a period of time from the 1800s to a post apocalyptic future.

Not only is it complicated because of the continuously changing cast taking on different genders, race as well as physical qualities there is also the question of one particular soul travelling between various characters in time. Does this soul have qualities that each personality it comes to share? Not really so this is another question in what is the soul? And what is its role in this.

Another sharing feature of the film is whether a person is bad and does that remain with every incarnation you return as? It certainly was for several characters namely those played by Hugo Weaving, each being as nasty as the other.

One wonderful thing about the film is that of love, that those destined to be together will find each other again and again through all circumstances of the times they live in whether it’s travelling by sea from the other side of the world to the other or being a fabricated human. It’s the simplest of truths in the film.

So many things are happening, the film moves constantly between these times in history making it feel both overwhelming and also distracting. Visually the film is an incredible achievement. Each era has a very distinctive quality although at times the prosthetics are just plain silly though in some they work really well making each character more believable.

The cast I should mention is brilliant. Given that this is in fact the most expensive independent film made it has Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent and more. A lot of the weight of the film is placed on these actors to bring a film that’s full of darkness, murder, dark magic, evil and greed to life.

It is a masterpiece? No, but it has heart amongst the layers of history and complexities of human natures which the film tries to explore. Go watch it, if only to watch Tom Hanks as a cockney gangster.