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Review: ‘Cloud Atlas’

A Film About Reincarnation, Reciprocity, And Lots Of Make Up

You can watch the extended trailer here, but it doesn't make anything clearer for a viewer who hasn't already seen the film.

Listen to my first audio review to get my full take on this very full film.


Aired 10/26/12

Cinema Junkie's first podcast by guest blogger, Nathan John.

The minds that brought us the "Matrix" films brings another epic, "Cloud Atlas." And yes, you'll have to see it more than once. (Opens everywhere October 26.)

"Cloud Atlas" is directed and written for screen by Tom Tykwer, and ("Matrix" creators) Andy and Lana Wachowski. From inception to completion, the film took four years' time. And it feels that long while you're watching it. To put it simply, the film is about the interconnectedness of everyone everywhere ever. The narrative spans centuries and immense distances to demonstrate how actions and relationships can stretch across lifetimes. (Rated R for violence, language, sexuality/nudity and some drug use.)

My advice: don't try to be too involved in the film or remember who is who, or what exactly they did (while keeping a general idea, obviously). Let it happen. Enjoy the beautiful, ever-changing scenery, fun make up, and costume changes. Everything will come together. The details are understood and can be appreciated most at the film's end.


Tom Hanks (six roles)

Halle Berry (six roles)

Jim Broadbent (playing five roles)

Hugo Weaving (six roles, almost all bad guys/girls, in accordance with the Wachohwskis' previous films)

Jim Sturgess (seven roles)

Doona Bae (six roles)

Ben Whinshaw (five roles)

Keith David (four roles)

James D'Arcy (four roles)

Susan Sarandon (four roles)

Hugh Grant (six roles) (my favorite character of his pictured below)

Hugh Grant completing one of my favorite character evolutions in "Cloud Atlas."

Above: Hugh Grant completing one of my favorite character evolutions in "Cloud Atlas."

Companion Viewing:

"2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968) Patience, patience, patience.

"Run Lola Run" (1998) Another Tykwer film that utilizes unconventional time framing.

"V For Vendetta" (2005) My favorite Wachowski film.

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