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Review: Cloud Atlas

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Directed by the Wachowski Siblings and Tom Tykwer

Based on the novel by David Mitchell and starring actors such as Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Hugh Grant, Cloud Atlas whisks you away on a philosophical journey, leaping through time and genre. Audiences experience a period piece about an ocean voyage, a tragic love story about a musician, a thriller about a reporter working on a murder case, a sci-fi touching on themes of consumerism and oppression, a fantasy about uncovering the truth and the comedy of pensioners trying to escape an elderly residence’s home. All of the stories intertwine narrative, themes and characters. They comment on reincarnation, how people often make the same mistakes yet overcome them, the resilience of the human spirit and love.

At nearly 3 hours long and containing 6 stories, Cloud Atlas makes you work. At times, it becomes confusing as the audience are constantly moving back and forth between the separate stories, each given equal weight. Many actors play several characters with the help of prosthetics and make-up. This creates an accidental humorous effect that sometimes undermines the impact of the story and its themes.

The roller-coaster of emotions can be exhausting as one moment you are experiencing the pain and sorrow of the musician, only to be ripped away and dropped into the humorous but touching world of the pensioners and then cast into the stark, unnerving future of the sci-fi. Some may find this exciting, but others will find it frustrating.

Cloud Atlas is a movie that will divide audiences. Where some will find it moving and poignant, others may find it pretentious and empty. With stunning special effects and dazzling visuals Cloud Atlas is not just a movie, it is an experience. You will either love it or hate it. Watch it and decide for yourself.

By: Hannah Jinman

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