Cloud Atlas bewilders and casts a spell over audiences. You’ll probably want to see it a couple of times, not because it’ hard to understand, it’s not. The story hops time (several hundreds of years) and space (the droplets of an ocean) thus creating a luxurious pageant of human experience that demands attention. Actors play multiple roles, most recognizable yet some imperceptible.
Cloud Atlas could be a litmus test of a person’s ability to accept change, or perhaps a guide to views on transmigration. For instance if a person believes in reincarnation does that also allow for a person to be born again but in the same timeframe as their previous existence. Think about it, you and your worst enemy might be the same soul.
Yes, I’ve read David Mitchell’s source novel and yes it helped me understand the greater picture that the trio of directors were trying to paint. Cloud Atlas is helmed by Tom Tykwer, and Lana and Andy Wachowski. But not reading the novel doesn’t mean a person will be unable to follow the story, which after some thought is really quite linear despite its initial appearance of spontaneous time and sequence hopping. The book uses some literary techniques (like a blank page where there should be the continuous part of a sentence) that would seemingly be impossible to translate to visual terms. Problem solved as the film proper uses filmic discipline to suggest the endless passage of time reduced to manageable period sequences and the reintroduction of ideas from episode to episode that dictates the spine of the plot.
The diary from Ep. 1 forms the foundation of Ep.2 that segues to letters written in 2 that show up in Ep. 3 that morphs into a story that is picked up in Ep. 4, an episode that itself serves as the story that amuses characters in Ep.5 only to have one of the said characters evolve into a goddess figure that is worshipped in Ep. 6. I don’t think it could be any clearer.
As a film Cloud Atlas obviously deserves some serious consideration. For the above the line talent involved it represents peak artists working at the limits of their imagination. Yet in no way does CA break the kind of barriers that the Wachowski’s achieved with the original The Matrix or that Tykwer accomplished with Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.