I don't smoke or drink but after watching the Wachowski's
"Cloud Atlas" I felt like I was sharing the doobie Tom Hanks
and Halle Berry passed back and forth during the Luisa Rey
movement of this filmic symphony.
"Cloud Atlas" is the kind of movie you feel you should dress
up for - like going to the theater or going to the symphony. And,
unfortunately, that is the kind of audience it will ultimately draw.
Atlas requires the type of sophistication and patience a night at
the opera might require. A film patron will need the forbearance
and the fortitude to abide as unfamiliar characters and stories
slowly take stage and unfold with no particular urgency.
The viewer is adrift for long passages of this movie, the primary
flaw being the lack of a notable thru-character to latch on to and
care about. There are a few linchpins – Doona Bae and Jim Broad-
bent being particularly striking as the genetically engineered
fabricant, Sonmi-451, and the vanity publisher and late in life
swashbuckler, Timothy Cavendish, respectively. Elsewhere
formidable star power is muted as big name actors such as Tom
Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant and Wachowski repertory player,
Hugo Weaving, frequently disappear under mounds of makeup.
In fact, one of the delights of the movie is sitting through the end
credits and being wonderfully surprised by who was playing who.
You have to respect the high ground the Wachowskis are playing
on and it is doubly nice to see that, as in the Matrix Trilogy, there
are black people in the future and they fare pretty well.
In the end I must agree with book critic Robert K. J. Kiheffer
who wrote, "for its pleasures, Cloud Atlas falls short of
revolutionary." It may not be a masterpiece, but it is a stunning