*Cloud Atlas* is not an easy movie to review. It is confusing, and epic, and sometimes epically confusing. This is clearly a movie with a mission statement I’m just not entirely sure it’s something I get after one viewing. ( It doesn’t help that I was writing peetime notes throughout most of the film. )
There are a few things that are very easy to review. Most striking is the acting which was, without exception, fantastic. Tom Hanks delivers a handful of powerful performances through different characters yet doesn’t stand out, much, from the rest of the cast. Clearly the director, directors in this case, deserve a great deal of credit when the entire cast performs so well together.
The cinematography, special effects, and costumes were all stunning. Everything from the modern designs in one scene to the costumes and makeup of the barbarians in the next was detailed and real. Most of all I thought they did a great job with the grit and dirt and pain in some of the worlds.
Now, about the story. That’s where it gets difficult to judge this film. I truly feel that I’ll have to watch this movie at least once more in order to “get it”. As I mentioned earlier I was handicapped by taking notes throughout most of the movie but I still think I’d need to see this multiple times to let it all sink in before giving it a fair assessment. The only critique I can offer at this point is I wish they had stuck with scenes a little longer than they did. There were very few scenes that went on for more than about 2 minutes before jumping forward or backward hundreds or thousands of years. I think it may have been a little easier to keep track of events if the movie stuck with each scene for at least 5 minutes.
For now I’m giving this movie a “B”. I reserve the right to bump that up or down a full leter grade after a few more viewings. I’m hoping it gets better over time.