Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas Image
Metascore
55

Mixed or average reviews - based on 45 Critics What's this?

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8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 961 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: Based on the best-selling novel by David Mitchell, “Cloud Atlas” explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Drama, mystery, action and enduring love thread through a story that unfolds in multipleBased on the best-selling novel by David Mitchell, “Cloud Atlas” explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Drama, mystery, action and enduring love thread through a story that unfolds in multiple lifetimes as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution. Each member of the ensemble cast appears in multiple roles as the story moves through time. (Warner Bros. Pictures) Expand

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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: 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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]
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 45 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 36 out of 228
  1. Nov 8, 2012
    10
    I went into cloud atlas with fairly high expectations. A close friend of mine was raving about it being a return to form for the Wachowskis.I went into cloud atlas with fairly high expectations. A close friend of mine was raving about it being a return to form for the Wachowskis. It's now been around 4 days after leaving the theater and the movie is still on my mind. I was amazed to see the backlash the movie received from the critics. In my opinion, it was a remarkable and moving epic, evoking themes rarely visited in cinema let alone any art form. I'm planning on seeing it again; it is easily my favorite of the year. It seems that the people that came away disappointed were focusing on the details of each individual story not realizing that the big picture is what this move is all about. Don't get bogged down with the reincarnation theme. The spectacular stitching of stories and tone makes the six stories into one; strengthening the motif of interconnectedness of people between the times. I rarely get choked up when watching movies. Cloud Atlas is an emotional masterpiece. Expand
  2. Nov 1, 2012
    10
    I loved this movie. I had just finished reading the book which is an incredible read, the language is just beautiful, and I was curious as toI loved this movie. I had just finished reading the book which is an incredible read, the language is just beautiful, and I was curious as to how they could film it, but they did an incredible job. It deserves to be seen on a big screen because the special effects are mesmerizing. And although they changed the structure of the book, which is triangular, the intercutting of the film actually connects the stories in a more coherent fashion. The use of the same actors over and over again is great fun and enforces the concepts of souls moving through time. It's my favorite film this year, all my friends have seen it and loved it, and we all want to see it a second time. Just beautiful and moving! Expand
  3. 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!!! Expand
  4. Nov 6, 2012
    9
    Ever since the first time I saw the trailer for this film, I've been intrigued as to how such an intertwisting of differing tales couldEver since the first time I saw the trailer for this film, I've been intrigued as to how such an intertwisting of differing tales could possibly be portrayed coherently and, more importantly, meaningfully on-screen (or in any medium, frankly). Intent on finding out, I decided to read the book before the movie was released. I was much exhilarated by the boldness of the book, and only slightly disappointed by the weakness of some of the stories portrayed there. I say this not because the movie reflects such weaknesses, but because it takes the weaknesses and turns them into wild, weeping, glowing success. While the book follows each tale in a tiered, orderly fashion - alphabetically in chronological order: ABCDEFEDCBA respectively (A being the 1830s, F being some unknown date in the deep future) - the movie twists and contorts the entire story by switching almost randomly between each tale in a meaningful and telling way. Where in the book, a story may end on a somber and somewhat uneventful note, the movie wraps that ending amongst other happenings from the other stories to provide context the book fails to adequately capture or express. Albeit, this is mostly done by much-abbreviating each story and condensing general plot structures to super-saturated levels compared to the book's meanderings. Nevertheless, the movie does not fail to capture the essence of each.

    What struck me the hardest, however, was not the way each story was interwoven in the film, but how the film actually manages to improve many of the stories by condensing them. The characters the book familiarizes the reader with are suddenly granted the respect they deserve in their much-heightened Hollywood movie aspects, and I respect the filmmakers for giving them the chance to shine.

    The obvious downside to all of this is that reading the novel is an absolutely necessary prerequisite for watching the film. Otherwise, the pure joy you find in each story made new, each character given a better chance to fulfill their role, and the meaning behind the story-weaving device all become an incomprehensible muddle of six slightly disappointing tales told in a new but annoying fashion. Nevertheless, despite this downside, I cannot help but give this movie high marks; they took the material, absorbed it thoroughly, and from it built a glorious masterpiece. If only the book could be sold as appendices to the film's great triumph.
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  5. Dec 25, 2012
    8
    Cloud Atlas is a curious film. It sets its ambitions to astronomical levels but at the end of the days does what it does well but is not atCloud Atlas is a curious film. It sets its ambitions to astronomical levels but at the end of the days does what it does well but is not at all a revolutionary film nor is it free of flaws. There is an emotional prize at the end if you can bear with the long convolution plot with six distinct stories played by a handful of the same actors and actresses that transcend race and gender. My biggest gripe with the movie was without a doubt the inclusion of unnecessary scenes in the movie. Sure, the 1936 plot involved a bisexual male but did they have to really articulate homosexual innuendos to such degree? Its one thing to vouch for gender equality rights and another to gross the crap out of the audience. Every single person in the room who saw this film with me felt extremely uncomfortable at the gay scenes involving the 1936 music composer. I mean, sure he's gay we get that and we can empathize with his lovelife but I felt that the Wachowski's went overboard with the 'feel sorry for homos' stuff. On the other hand, was the revealing if mercifully brief sex scene involving Sonmi really necessary? A kissing scene would have sufficed. If I want to watch the intimate shots of an Asian woman GRINDING on some guy's penis, I would simply go to a porn site. Oh and what the hell is with the White-guy-with-Asian-makeup-to-make-them-look-Asian **** I dont mind the gender swaps in some of the plotlines. In fact, it just shows how talented actors like Weaving, Berry, Hanks and Grant be. Putting prosthetic makeup on a white guy to make him look Asian is not only laughable at viewing but is also ultimately offensive. Why not just hire a Asian actor? Would the plot really have suffered if they had not used the same actor seen in other plotlines? Apart from those little niggles, the film excels in other departments. Cinematography is excellent, the acting brilliant and the film score...one of the best in recent times. I just felt that the Cloud Atlas Sextet is ultimately underutilized in the film as a whole. Its often too faint to be heard or too brief to make an impact. Thankfully, the credits serves this purpose but at the end of the day, had they used the score more and in appropriate scenes, I felt that the movie would have benefited a lot more. While all six plotlines are great, in the end, the ones that felt most well done and enjoyable are without a doubt Rey's 1973 plot, Cavendish's 2012 plot and the Post-Apocalyptic Zachary plot. On the note of Zachary's story, it actually got me intrigued on the premise of it - so apparently the world collapsed under some cataclysm and humanity had been reduced to primitive tribes and a handful of still advance humans. I would've love to hear more about what happened at The Fall, how the Prescients had survived this and where they were in this era, what happened to the empty lands of the world after The Fall and on the colonies on the other planets. All in all, Cloud Atlas is a brilliant film that rewards the viewer with an emotional gift but at the expense of sitting through nearly 3 hours of elongated plotlines filled with action, drama and dull, unnecessary moments. This should've been a 2~2.5 hour film in this standard OR a 3 hour that's filled with info. Instead we get a 3 hour film that is essentially a 2 hour film stretched to its brim with rudimentary moments. You may hate it, you may love, but at the end of the day, it will have an impact on your movie-watching experience. An ambitious title that could've been a lot better had its significant flaws been ironed out and the Cloud Atlas sextet been utilized more frequently. Expand
  6. Aug 24, 2014
    6
    This is one of those movies that had such a trailer I wasn't sure I wanted to see the actual film or not. Luckily, the actual movie itselfThis is one of those movies that had such a trailer I wasn't sure I wanted to see the actual film or not. Luckily, the actual movie itself proved to be more than about that one song - although "Cloud Atlas" rather interestingly carries through most of the stories in the movie.

    And, the stories: in the beginning they seem jumbled and mismatched, jumping from one era to the next, with familiar faces all around, portrayed by the same actors.

    That was both the intriguing part and the pitfall: some of the portrayals were amazing and I couldn't immediately recognize a well-known face we had already seen filling more than one pair of on-screen shoes. Unfortunately, the attempts to make a Western actor look like an Asian - and the opposite - managed to pull off a kind of 'horribly failed plastic surgery'-vibe. That was kind of distracting.

    All in all, once the stories got going and I started remember who was who and what they were going on about, the film gained momentum. They didn't drag things out for too long, and balanced storylines out quite nicely, considering how many plots they had to cover.

    I think I preferred the futuristic worlds to the older/modern ones. The visual effects looked natural, and there were several memorable characters.

    However, overall, this probably wasn't a film for me, and its complexity became a bit too artistic to move forth fluently. Also, as fun as it was to spot same faces in different roles, I'not sure whether simply casting more people would have worked just as well, if not better (especially in those few disastrous make-up tumbles).
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  7. Jan 9, 2013
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. One: Hugo Weaving and yellowface don't mix. Two: all the religions in the world is supplanted by a hot-chic-asian-submissive-cloned-prostitute-prophetess with nothing substantial to say other than, "be excellent to each other," minus the, "party on dudes." Three: the Irish doctor Tom Hanks plays is ironically exactly what Tom Hanks looks like without makeup and plastic surgery, he's magically delicious! Four: There are more flashbacks and flashforwards in this one movie than I have seen in a lifetime. Five: If this is reincarnation than Karma is broken. Six: Oh I get the Soylent Green line now, a little "foreshadowing" thing going on there; hint hint wink wink. Seven: WTF?! Expand

See all 228 User Reviews

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