This will have spoilers…don’t be swayed however, it probably won’t spoil the plot for you,seeing that I am still not sure what the plot was.
I like layered stories,layered characters and complex plot lines. I like those in a movie, because I do like stories that make me think. I also like movies that let me escape. I do not particularly enjoy movies that attempt to do both. Maybe that is why Cloud Atlas lost me. Or maybe it was because the trailer made it seem like it was a recurring love theme between Halle Berry and Tom Hanks characters, but the movie proved that to be an inaccurate assumption. Maybe it was because the actual point of the film was lost in the myriad of characters and story lines. Or maybe it was just that the film as a whole was a pretentious art piece and the only reason anyone knows about it is because it was preceded by a pretentious six minute trailer filled with A-List actors.
I went to the movie expecting a theme on reincarnation or something of the sort; people meeting over and over throughout history. In the trailer we see Tom and Halle in modern times, and then we see them in what seems to be ancient times. We hear Tom say “I have fallen in love with Luisa Ray”, so it seems that somehow these two will have a strong connection. I was a bit let down with the connection though. In the modern event there love is never even realized, and it was not the main event of the modern time line. What looks to be ancient in the trailer is actually the future, and Halle has gadgets that once were only dreamed by Gene Roddenberry.
I also assumed that all of the characters were going to cross paths, but there were so many characters I don’t think it was possible, and if they did it was lost on me.
There was not allot of chemistry between Hanks and Berry, in fact there was more chemistry between the two actors who played the male lovers. The most entertaining was the elderly escaping the nursing home that was imprisoning them. THAT WAS FUNNY…”I know I know” (viewers will catch that).
The main point that I drew from Cloud Atlas, is that history in some way repeats itself over and over. Humanity continues to enslave itself by enslaving each other at various points in history. If that was the main point however, even that left hanging threads. In the modern timeline there was not a representation of enslavement, except a slur against womens lib and a one liner about a “wet back”. That was not the story of that timeline, however. Another point could have been that love conquers all and we all touch each other in past and present and even future. Or the point could have been, and it is one that the film does convey and very emotionally, is that humanity can hurt each other but it also can help each other. The small acts of kindness and the large acts of self sacrifice are staples of the film. Exceptional sentiments, but it would have made a bigger impact with less grandiose efforts…at least for me.
To give Cloud its due, I will say that the special effects are beautiful. The metamorphosis by the actors are incredible. I am sure that I still did not catch every character that each actor portrays, I was well into the movie before I realized who some of the faces behind the characters were. Halle plays future and modern Halle as we recognize her. She also plays a white woman and I just read she was a Korean man as well. All of the actors are unrecognizable in some of their roles. For that, this film will most likely win awards for make up, cinematic special effects and probably music. As far as the story is concerned though, I think the expectation were greater than the movie itself.
For those who have seen the film and maybe got a little lost, here is a review which tells what the plot actually was…http://movieline.com/2012/10/26/cloud-atlas-review-wachowskis-tom-hanks-halle-berry/