Cloud Atlas is way too sophisticated for modern day audiences. There’s a good chance you have no idea what I’m talking about and I wouldn’t blame you. Unlike other Wachowski projects like The Matrix trilogy or Jupiter Ascending, Cloud Atlas fell way under the radar. Even though it’s actually not that bad. The movie is made up of 6 different stories that are all connected and take place across different time periods. With each actor playing a different role in each. So I’m going to review them each separately.
Pacific Islands, 1849 – The first story is a sailing piece about slavery. As a story it’s fine. It just kinda gets lost in the more easily identifiable stories. I kinda forgot which story I was watching at one point.
Cambridge/Edinburgh, 1936 – The second story is a music focused gay romance. Probably my least favorite story. Not for the romance, but because of the distracting make up that Halle Berry wears. She’s supposed to be a white woman. It doesn’t look right.
San Francisco, 1973 – The third story is an investigative mystery. This one is pretty strong on its own. The sense of journalism is actually pretty good. It’s the first story to fully hold my attention.
London, 2012 – The fourth story is an elderly comedy of errors. This is perhaps the biggest misfit in the bunch. There is some drama in this one, but the “old people escape a retirement home” premise just feels too misplaced. It is funny though.
Neo Seoul, 2144 – The fifth story is an on the run science fiction thriller. Which is my personal favorite. I feel like this one could have been its own movie. I mean I’ve come to expect sci-fi from the directors. I think it’s what they’re best at. Warning: yellowface.
Big Isle (Hawaii), 106 winters after the Fall (2321) – The sixth and final story is a post-apocalyptic tale. As a post-apocalyptic story it’s just OK. There’s a lot of muttering and mumbling in this one. I wasn’t always sure what was going on.
In conclusion, Cloud Atlas is just ahead of its time. Maybe in time it will gain a cult following. There’s just a good chance you’ll watch it and completely forget everything you just watched. It’s also nearly 3 hours so don’t watch it unless you can commit. I don’t know that I’d recommend it, decide for yourself.