War of the Words: ‘Cloud Atlas’

I must be predetermined to hate everything

By Angela Espinoza, Arts Editor


I’m appalled; not entirely by Cloud Atlas, but by the response it’s been getting. I was appalled when the audience I was sitting with attempted a round of applause, and I was appalled when I got home to find that as of the film’s official release on October 28, it’s gotten better reviews.

Cloud Atlas offers us a set of fairly talented actors, from Tom Hanks to Halle Berry to Keith David to Hugo Weaving, all of whom and more are playing multiple roles in this cross century epic. At the heart of all the hustle and bustle of these many, many lives, there is supposed to be a recurring theme that we are all connected in some way shape or form.

The film just barely manages to keep that recurring theme alive, as there are many points where it feels as though the set and crew were a bit too involved with particular stories. Whether it’s the grand love story of Robert Frobisher (Ben Whishaw) and his partner Rufus Sixsmith (Jim Broadbent) or the 1970s jive action starring Luisa Rey (Halle Berry) and Joe Napier (Keith David), there are many moments where the film gets lost in its own, honestly quite interesting short stories.

There are many points when the film fails to redeem itself, but keeps its theme alive, in that actions of the past do affect the future, and in at least one case, find that people can indeed be connected. It’s the fact that Cloud Atlas offers multiple ways for its theory to work that makes it just barely tolerable.

The one thing keeping me from the initial remark I came up with while watching of the film being a glorified Valentine’s Day (2010) is that there are points when this film features incredible scenes, engaging stories, and creative worlds—all too brief points. That, and maybe I’m in the minority on this, but I had absolutely no idea this film was adapted from a novel by David Mitchell. Obviously the multiple view, cross-century idea would work better in word, so with that in mind, I do commend the film for actually attempting something resembling grandeur.

That said, I never want to see Cloud Atlas again. I never want to see this film again because if I ever have to sit still, forcing myself awake for another two hours and 45 minutes of watching Halle Berry and Tom Hanks kind-of-mostly-not fall in love and people die for a greater good and people live for a greater good and more 14-year-old existential bull shit, I will very likely self combust, in a theatre, and take everyone there with me.

See it if you want to, everyone else and their giggling best friend or girl friend is going to anyway. Just know if you feel like you’ve come out of the film having felt you’ve learned something, you probably need to realize your life.


Get curious about ‘Cloud Atlas’

By Parker Thompson, Contributor


The Wachowski’s (most famous for The Matrix trilogy) along with German director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola,Run) have plenty to offer with their latest project, Cloud Atlas. Despite a somewhat confusing storyline, I found my eyes glued to the screen for every moment of this cinematic spectacle. This is the kind of film you’ll want to see at least twice to both understand the storyline and re-experience the visual quality.

Adapted from a novel of the same name by David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas follows six individual stories—spanning many centuries—and it’s up to the viewer to find their relation to each other. All six stories are unique in time period, and each one offers a different moral. In fact, each storyline was fascinating enough as a standalone; there wasn’t a single weak link in the collection.

The big difference between the novel and film is that the novel presents each story sequentially, allowing the audience to take them in one at a time. I assumed this film would be a mental marathon before going in, so I worked extra hard watching all six stories simultaneously to spot the continuity or a central theme between the stories. While I was engaged the entire time, I left the theatre with more questions than when I came in. A variety of possible meanings for this film popped into my head without me gravitating towards a single one; in short, this film was out of control.

Simply put, the directorial trio behind Cloud Atlas have put together a captivating film. If you want to make sense of the storyline, I suggest going to see it twice. Nonetheless, you will be in for wonderful drama, visuals, and acting. Another cool aspect of this film is that they used a core group of around seven or eight actors to play the majority of characters (sometimes six per actor) in all storylines.

Here’s a fun challenge: try to spot which actors play which characters. The reveal in the credits will surely surprise you. Go see Cloud Atlas, and have a good time!