Cloud Atlas (2012)

Cloud Atlas is an epic science fiction film that was first released in 2012. The movie was adapted from a book of the same name written by David Mitchell. The film was directed by The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer. It stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant, and more. While highly anticipated upon its release it was met with critical review. Ironically, the only thing most critics seem to fault is the overall length of the film. The originality, cinematography, ensemble cast, and score were all widely praised. Even still, it carries a 66% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Notoriously hard to please film critic Roger Ebert rated the movie four out of four stars. After stating it was one of the best of the year he added it also was one of the most ambitious films ever made. “Even as I was watching Cloud Atlas the first time, I knew I would need to see it again. Now that I’ve seen it the second time, I know I’d like to see it a third time. I think you will want to see this daring and visionary film,” he explained.

The tagline for the movie is “everything is connected”, which is where the whole essence of the movie lies. It explores how the actions of individual people impact one another throughout time. The consequences of each individual’s actions can act as a ripple across time and this film takes a closer look at this through past, present, and future. As souls are born and reborn, their bonds are renewed and connected throughout time. We learn this by exploring the lives of these connected souls over five centuries. 

The first life begins with an attorney, Adam Ewing (Jim Sturgess) in 1849 who witnesses the beating of a slave, Autua (David Gyasi), on his ship and decides to help him. Later on, the film moves to 1936, where we meet Robert Frobisher (Ben Whishaw), a composer employed as an amanuensis to help Vyvyan Ayrs (Jim Broadbent), an aging composer. Frobisher happens upon Ewing’s journal at Ayrs’ house and begins to read it. The film eventually expands all the way into the year 2321, where we connect with tribespeople dealing with a post-apocalyptic time.

Overall, Cloud Atlas is a moving film that helps us understand the consequences of our actions and how even the smallest acts of kindness can aid in shaping our future. The visits through time, the reconnecting of characters, and watching as one soul turns from a killer into a hero is a powerful cinematic experience. We recommend you take some time out of your schedule to invest in this almost 3-hour film. It will definitely be worth your time!