One of the six characters Tom Hanks plays in Cloud Atlas

One of the six characters Tom Hanks plays in Cloud Atlas

Reel Reviews: Film’s worldly vision is a little cloudy

The Wachowskis (The Matrix) are back with another vast, deep and lyrical philosophical tome of a movie, Cloud Atlas.

  • Nov. 18, 2012 12:00 p.m.

The Wachowskis (The Matrix) are back with another vast, deep and lyrical philosophical tome of a movie.

Cloud Atlas stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent and Hugh Grant, among others, in a myriad of roles numbering as high as six each.

The story follows different people in different times, starting in the 1800s and reaching into the far future. The stories are tied together by way of the theory of inter-connectivity, which states that we are each connected to each other and ourselves from the past and future, in the present.

As the film states: “Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present. By each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”

We say, “the Universe is instant.”

TAYLOR: Cloud Atlas is an extremely complex story that takes place through the eyes of several characters, distinct, yet connected. Some suggest that Atlas might better have been served by way of being two 90 minute films. But I think it’s akin to seeing a puzzle that’s already been put together into a beautiful picture. If you took it apart, the pieces would become unrecognizable and you wouldn’t be able to reconfigure the story. You have to let it wash over you and accept the over-arching theme.

HOWE: I didn’t mind the length of the movie. If they had split it into two parts, I think most people would get lost trying to remember what happened in the first one. I love movies that have different stories to start with, where I’m not really understanding what is going on and at the end it all comes together beautifully. I thoroughly enjoyed Cloud Atlas and will definitely be watching it again.

TAYLOR: There are things I missed in the film, that’s for sure. It is simply too complex to get everything in one sitting. However, I think this only minutely changes my appreciation for it. The film stands alone as an entertaining work of art, but it carries with it a depth that can be revisited, probably time and time again, to find something new. But there are also flaws in the film.

HOWE: A certain character seems to die then inexplicably returns to life. It’s unclear whether or not there is reincarnation taking place, or if it’s just “inter-connectivity,” and some of the makeup is distracting. Also, some of the “rules” of the film don’t seem to apply to all characters. For instance, Hugo Weaving and Hugh Grant are always bad guys. However, when incarnated, all of the other characters experience some form of growth into a person we find more likeable than their predecessors. Why? Is evil always evil?

TAYLOR: I think we could probably write a book about this movie. Let’s just stop here with the suggestion that it’s a fine film with a good message that isn’t quite as effective as it could be.

–– Howe gives Cloud Atlas 4 Tom Hanks’ bad English accent out of 5.

–– Taylor gives it 3.5 jeweled buttons out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

–– Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers living in Vernon, B.C.