Cloud Atlas was considered the book that was impossible to make into a film. I have just sat through the film and agree with this statement. This film jumps timelines that makes Inception look like a walk-through book for a five year old.
If you ask me what the film is about, I could guess it is about love, about friendship and about the courage to make a difference in your life for others. But that is just a guess. The truth is this film has no clear message.
I can accept time travel and the same souls on different time levels with ease. What I can’t accept is the terrible editing in this film that makes it hard to watch and almost impossible to enjoy.
There are two outstanding storylines (it is about several different characters throughout time played by the same people)in the film.
The first one is a gay love story. It is a very passionate beautiful story which I really felt for the characters. However within the first five minutes you already know what the outcome of this story is going to be so it makes it hard to get close to the characters.
I also very much enjoyed the story in the future of a girl waitress who escapes her destiny to find another life and love outside of the hum-drum she was born into.
The trouble with this film is continuity. Why are the same actors playing different characters? What is the point of this? It is not the same soul reborn or a love story through time - so why? It is not clear how anyone is linked!
I consider Tom Hanks to be one of our greatest living actors. He does not disappoint in this film but I struggle to see how he and Hally Berry are connected through time. They just don’t seem to fit well for me and I wonder with all the other complicated story sub-plots why anyone would give this film the time of day.
The truth is this film does not deliver. There are elements of John Carter and of Inception but both these films had what a good film needs – a story about love with characters you genuinely care about. Cloud Atlas jumps so frequently it is hard to care about any of the characters enough to follow what may happen. It is a hugely disappointing film.
A good film needs to make money. This is the truth of the world we live in. We want to go to the cinema to either escape our lives for a few hours or to feel something (shock, heartfelt love, heartbreak, fantasy etc). If a film is good we will choose to go repeatedly to see it. We will recommend it to friends and buy it on DVD. Cloud Atlas is not one of these films!