By Tony Medley
Run time 172
channel reincarnation, at almost three hours this convoluted, neo-epic
film telling six separate tales is too long and, in the end, too
preachy. I felt like I should get a T-shirt that said, "I survived Cloud
Atlas." But the acting by the A-list cast is impressive, as are the
cinematography, the pace, and cutting back and forth from one time frame
to another. Unfortunately, the movie does not make the years of the six
episodes, all of whom contain the same actors, clear.
The worst part
of the film is the one in which Tom Hanks plays a shepherd. It's not
that the story is so bad, it's that Hanks and Halle Berry speak in such
heavy accents, they are almost incomprehensible. If writers/directors
Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer and Andy Washowski really wanted his
characters to speak in accents so heavy, they should have provided their
audience with subtitles. I finally gave up trying to understand them.
But, then, that
was par for the course for this movie because I eventually gave up
trying to understand what the point was, other than the Rodney King
lament, "Can't we all just get along?" It might have been better had
they just said that at the outset and saved everyone almost three hours
in a darkened theater.
In the end a
three hour movie like this is just a massive ego trip by all involved.
This is how Hollywood spends $100 million, and it's not a pretty
The six separate
stories take place in 1849, 1936, 1973, 2012, 2144, and 2346.
Unfortunately, as I said, the years of each are never identified, at
least I didn't see anything that ID'd them. So, just to make it a little
more comprehensible if you do find yourself in a theater watching this,
here is the lineup:
Sturgess hooks up with slave David Gyasi and they board a schooner in
the South Pacific.
Whitshaw is a gay composer working with Jim Broadbent in Scotland.
Berry is a journalist in San Francisco investigating plant owner Hugh
Grant and runs into Tom Hanks ("big oil" is the villain in this piece,
is an English publisher making money publishing a book by roguish Hanks.
2144: Doona Bae
is a genetically engineered person in "Neo Seoul" and she's recruited by
Jim Sturgess to lead an insurrection.
2321 and 2346:
Hanks is a goatherd in Hawaii after a cataclysm in which Bae is viewed
as a goddess. Hanks is recruited by Berry to, well, fight the system.
This is the one in which the dialogue is very difficult to understand.
Maybe this will
help you enjoy the film more than I did, because I didn't read the notes
first and was at sea most of the time, and I don't think I was alone.