Six major plot lines taking place over 500 years – featuring the same actors playing multiple roles – is what you get with "Cloud Atlas."
All of the stories are crosscut together, jumping back and forth from one another across different time periods ranging from a 19th century South Pacific sea voyage to the distant post-apocalyptic future where humanity lives on the very brink of extinction. The cast includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Susan Sarandon, Hugo Weaving and Hugh Grant. They do their best to tell the secrets of the universe and the human heart while leaving you, well, confused.
"Cloud Atlas" is simply too long and too scatterbrained. The central message is that we are all connected from womb to tomb and our lives are not our own. It's part comedy, fantasy, crime thriller, and hard-core sci-fi. I respect the effort but, honestly, it's like trying read a new board game in another language. I had a hard enough time trying to figure out who the stars were disguised as behind makeup, wigs, and other prosthetics. The Flick-O-Meter gives "Cloud Atlas" a three out of five. I loved the concept but this film was really all over the place. This movie is better off as a book. And when a film critic like myself says that, you know there are problems.
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