Cloud Atlas tries so hard to be deep but in reality it is a self-indulgent exploration of ideas that turn out to be superficial. Its premise is that all of us are interconnected and out souls meet with each other all through the centuries, despite race, gender or location. It wants to tell the world that we are just drops of water in the same ocean.
Cloud Atlas is based on the best-selling book of the same name written by David Mitchell. It works better on paper as it tries to tell six stories over the course of 500 years. It includes some primitive dialogue in the very distant future.
Directors Lana and Andy Wachowski work with Run Lola Run director Tow Tykwer for Cloud Atlas. The cast is composed of A-list Hollywood actors who have to play various parts across the different stories. Their makeup is one of the elements in the movie that needs improvement.
Tom Hanks play a scheming doctor on a journey across the South Pacific in 1849, a novelist in present day London, and a goatherd who is part of a post-apocalyptic tribe in 2300s. Halle Berry is the trophy wife of a composer in 1936, an investigative reporter in 1973, and member of an elite society of prescients in the distant future. Hugh Grant is the most unrecognizable actor in Cloud Atlas because of the prosthetics he has on. He plays an old man at one point and a leader of a group of cannibals in another. Hugo Weaving is stereotyped as a bad guy and this is not different in Cloud Atlas. He plays a female oppressive nurse in a psychiatric hospital.
The most memorable story in Cloud Atlas is the one set in the futuristic city of Neo Seoul, where Sonmi-451 (Doona Bae) is one of the fabricated workers locked in a routine of work and solitude. She tries to escape with the help of a rebel played by Jim Sturgess. Her story is the only one who has any sense of humanity, which is ironic because she’s a machine.