Cloud Atlas

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

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Critic Reviews

  1. 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.
  2. The New Yorker
    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]
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Oct 26, 2012
    50
    The result is maddening, exasperating, occasionally exhilarating – and mostly boring.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Arizona Republic
    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]
  11. 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."
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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).
  20. 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.
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 957 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 35 out of 227
  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 aThis 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 rightCloud 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 walkingCloud 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 »