Metascore
55

Mixed or average reviews - based on 45 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 45
  2. Negative: 4 out of 45
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Oct 26, 2012
    100
    Its too-muchness is also the source of its power; I was absolutely never bored, and felt surprised when the movie ended. It's an amazing, baffling, thrilling and (for many, it would appear) irritating experience, and for my money the most beautiful and distinctive big-screen vision of the year.
  2. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Oct 24, 2012
    100
    It fascinates in the moment. It's getting from one moment to the next that is tricky. Surely this is one of the most ambitious films ever made.
  3. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Oct 25, 2012
    91
    It has laser gun fights, forbidden love, and a rollicking group breakout from a fascistic old folks' home. What more could anyone want?
  4. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Oct 24, 2012
    89
    This remarkable adaptation of the supposedly "unfilmable" novel by David Mitchell achieves near-perfection on virtually all levels.
  5. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Oct 25, 2012
    88
    Superior filmmaking. Yes, it runs almost three hours - but you've probably seen 90-minute films that felt a lot longer.
  6. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Oct 24, 2012
    83
    Cloud Atlas is certainly out to be a ''visionary'' mindbender, but the film's secret is that it's a nimbly entertaining and light-on-its-feet Hollywood contraption, with the actors cast in multiple roles as if playing a game of dress-up.
  7. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Feb 18, 2013
    80
    Don’t let its commercial nosedive in the US tell the whole story. Cloud Atlas is a tough sell, but a rewarding journey all the same. It’s an adventure into the very concept of storytelling: magical, enthralling and thrilling as much as bewildering, pompous and potty. In other words, up in the clouds.
  8. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Oct 26, 2012
    80
    As is often the peril with movies of giant ambition, Cloud Atlas walks a crooked line between the glorious and the ridiculous.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Sep 9, 2012
    80
    As inventive narratives go, there's outside the box, and then there's pioneering another dimension entirely, and this massive, independently financed collaboration among Tom Tykwer and Wachowski siblings Lana and Andy courageously attempts the latter.
  10. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Oct 27, 2012
    75
    Taken as little more than six disconnected shorts featuring the same group of players in different roles, Cloud Atlas works. It's entertaining and the manner in which it has been edited reduces one's tendency to lose patience with the less engaging stories.
  11. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Oct 25, 2012
    75
    Despite some weaknesses, a sense gradually emerges in this film- not just an idea, but a strong feeling mixed with an idea - about the dance of good and evil over time.
  12. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Oct 24, 2012
    75
    Measured scene by scene, the film isn't always successful, and its transcendent moments make it easy to wish it could reach that elevated pitch more often. But Cloud Atlas is the sort of work where the big picture matters more than the details. It's an imperfect film of great daring and tremendous humanity, a work of many stories, but a singular achievement.
  13. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Sep 10, 2012
    67
    Tom Hanks' appearances come across like scene changes between unfunny sketches on 'Saturday Night Live.'
  14. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Oct 25, 2012
    63
    Even at three hours, the film feels truncated, which raises the question of whether the entire adaptation exercise might have chosen the wrong form. Stretched out to 10 or 12 hours on cable television, Cloud Atlas, the series, would be the talk of the fall television season, and the stories, rather than the thematic scaffolding, would be the right focus of attention.
  15. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Oct 25, 2012
    63
    The cinematography is gorgeous and the makeup amazing, but the story lines are too disconnected.
  16. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Oct 25, 2012
    63
    While Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski haven't necessarily expanded on Mitchell's book, they've done a superlative job making it legible onscreen. Cloud Atlas deserves praise if only for not being the baggy, pretentious disaster it could have been in other hands.
  17. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Oct 25, 2012
    63
    If you're interested in the sheer craft of filmmaking, Cloud Atlas is required viewing - a rare example of a movie getting by entirely on technique and creative bravado.
  18. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Oct 25, 2012
    63
    Unlike "Tree" or "2001," Cloud Atlas offers more answers than it does questions, and by the end of its nearly three-hour running time - which flies by surprisingly fast, all things considered - it feels like the most feverishly expensive late-night college bull session ever. There are glories here, but they fade in the light of day.
  19. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Oct 25, 2012
    63
    For all the spectacular settings and visionary designs, Cloud Atlas left me feeling disconnected. Sad. But that's the true true.
  20. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Oct 25, 2012
    63
    The movie doesn't really work, but it's fascinating in the ways it doesn't. Then again, I enjoyed the spacey insanity of the Wachowskis' "Speed Racer," which they didn't even like in Asia.
  21. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Oct 17, 2012
    63
    Its ideas are paralleled, its themes twinned, sometimes breathlessly, sometimes fatuously, into what may be described as a 164-minute pop song of seemingly infinite verses, choruses, and bridges. Perhaps expectedly, it soars as often as it thuds.
  22. Reviewed by: James Mottram
    Feb 9, 2013
    60
    A grand folly that makes the Wachowskis’ "The Matrix" trilogy look prosaic, Cloud Atlas is a fascinating if flawed work that will leave you gasping one minute and gagging the next.
  23. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Oct 27, 2012
    60
    One has to ask: does it allow for immersion? Even as we applaud the dramatic machinery, are we being kept emotionally at bay? [29 Oct. & 5 Nov. 2012, p.128]
  24. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Oct 26, 2012
    60
    Where the book is sinuous and oblique, their film is galumphing and heavy-handed, its rare flights of lyricism stranded between long stretches of outright risibility. And yet there's something commendable about the directors' commitment to their grandiose act of folly.
  25. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Oct 25, 2012
    60
    This is by no means the best movie of the year, but it may be the most movie you can get for the price of a single ticket.
  26. Reviewed by: Mark Keizer
    Oct 16, 2012
    60
    The movie version has the exciting and challenging parts down but the moral awakening it so strenuously wants us to experience remains beyond its reach.
  27. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Oct 26, 2012
    50
    The result is maddening, exasperating, occasionally exhilarating – and mostly boring.
  28. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Oct 25, 2012
    50
    This would-be epic is beautifully photographed, elegantly crafted and adventurously cast. Unfortunately, though, it plays like a gargantuan trailer for a movie still to be made.
  29. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Oct 25, 2012
    50
    Cloud Atlas is pop spiritualism, comic-book grandiosity, Zen for dummies. I can't say I didn't enjoy it on some level, but it's not the level of universal wisdom the Wachowskis and Tykwer would have us be on.
  30. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Oct 25, 2012
    50
    A tale that ought to dispel the clouds of mystery surrounding life gathers them into impenetrable fog.
  31. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Oct 24, 2012
    50
    Cloud Atlas is ambitious in nature, epic in scope and, ultimately, a big, overstuffed mess. [24 Oct 2012]
  32. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Sep 10, 2012
    50
    Most viewers are likely to be impressed more by the magnitude of the effort than the magnificence of the effect. Cloud Atlas is a Terry Gilliam movie without the kinks, a Wong Kar-wai film without the smoky dreamscape, a time-and-Space Oddity that remains frustratingly earthbound. Put it another way: this is no "Speed Racer."
  33. Reviewed by: Jordan Mintzer
    Sep 9, 2012
    50
    Not quite soaring into the heavens, but not exactly crash-landing either, Cloud Atlas is an impressively mounted, emotionally stilted adaptation of British author David Mitchell's bestselling novel.
  34. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Oct 25, 2012
    45
    The directors can make it fluid, comprehensible and gorgeous to look at, but they can't keep what struck many readers as profound on the page, from seeming profoundly obvious on screen, especially when every point gets reiterated six times.
  35. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Sep 10, 2012
    42
    Too long by at least a half hour, and both dull and repetitive as it goes on, Cloud Atlas reaches for envelope-pushing storytelling but never delivers on its promise.
  36. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Oct 25, 2012
    40
    Unfortunately, attempts to be original are not enough, they have to succeed, and this film's solutions tend to present themselves as alternately gimmicky and banal.
  37. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Oct 25, 2012
    40
    For all its strengths, the film is cursed by an ADD-style structure and a flashy but inevitably ineffective casting stunt.
  38. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Oct 23, 2012
    40
    Each segment feels more like an extended trailer for itself than a sound narrative unit. Maybe this incompletion is purposeful, but it's a problem when what's invariably elided or taken for granted is the very human connection and commiseration that is supposedly the most vital force in the universe.
  39. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Oct 23, 2012
    40
    For all of Cloud Atlas's pseudorevolutionary blather about upending the "natural order," the execution couldn't be squarer.
  40. 40
    The cast comes off like a third-rate stock company on the matinee after the night on which everyone got bombed on mescal (and possibly mescaline).
  41. Reviewed by: Henry Barnes
    Sep 9, 2012
    40
    Tykwer and the Wachowskis' other twist on this karmic hokum - to cast each of their actors in multiple roles across the stories, regardless of age or race - is less successful.
  42. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Oct 25, 2012
    25
    I'll grant that the film has many layers. All of them are terrible.
  43. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Oct 24, 2012
    25
    Cloud Atlas, surely the most incoherent waste of time and money on screen this year.
  44. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Oct 23, 2012
    25
    Almost three hours long, a lugubrious sludge of mud soup called Cloud Atlas deserves a limp nod for pure guts, I suppose, but what I'd really like to do is burn it.
  45. Reviewed by: Karina Longworth
    Sep 17, 2012
    10
    A manifesto in the form of an enormously budgeted quasi-sci-fi epic, Cloud Atlas is evidently personal, defiantly sincere, totally lacking in self-awareness, and borderline offensive in its gleeful endorsement of revenge violence against anyone who gets in the way of a good person's self-actualization. The rest of the time, it's just insipid, TV-esque in its limited visual imagination, and dramatically incoherent.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 701 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 30 out of 210
  1. Oct 29, 2012
    10
    This was a remarkable movie, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I did not read the book but now I intend to. I understand that this is not a movie for everybody, but it's a movie for adults. The music and editing was so well done and that is just a cherry on top of this homage to film, love, life, freedom and what it all means to us. Brilliant!!! Full Review »
  2. Oct 26, 2012
    10
    Cloud Atlas is a unique movie, and that should be enough to go see it. You want more? It's also emotionally powerful, funny in the right places, exciting on more than one occasion and it has a message it wants to deliver Full Review »
  3. Oct 27, 2012
    10
    Cloud Atlas places you in the lives of six individuals, separated by race, gender, time and culture, and establishes a feeling akin to walking into a library, filled with timeless books of the past, present and future, with no intent to leave. Each story is intelligently edited and narrated, as common themes and plot progressions flow into one another. The acting, makeup and imagery are also excellent. This is a movie about love, institution, freedom, power and the amazing simplicity of the human nature. I do believe this philosophical dreadnought could not be steered by any other than the Wachowskis, and is most aptly described by many viewers as ambitious for its scope and diversity. As one of the characters describes, "A half-finished book is a half-finished love affair", I would, too, feel truly incomplete if the stories met no conclusion and were stopped short. I am not disappointed in the book-movie incongruities, as these two items establish themselves with different goals and visions of the same plane. While I understand this type of movie is not everyone's cup of tea, you will most definitely leave the movie theater acknowledging that it was a few dollars well-spent. Full Review »