2012, Movies

Cloud Atlas (2012, directed by Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski)

Some novels are just plain unfilmable, and sometimes you wonder why people try. But watching this, and not knowing the novel, I’m not sure this one is such an unfilmable novel. (Maybe I’m wrong.)

A lot of the time I find I don’t really see the bombs other people see. I don’t know why that is – though I would guess it has something to do with my expectations being so low once I see a “bomb” that I am nearly always pleasantly surprise – but I find it is the case more than it is. This one such bomb is hardly a disaster. Frankly I’m not sure why it was so poorly received.

Make no mistake, this is hardly a perfect film; it has it’s flaws.

  • One major flaw would be the decision to use actors in multiple roles. Hanks can handle it, Berry does fine as well. But Bae, for example, is horribly miscast in a few of her parts.
  • Also, I feel like the “Cloud Atlas Sextet” – or whatever the fuck it is – is it chamber music or a symphony??? – could have been better written.
  • And the film is a little heavy handed. (I wonder if the book is so heavy handed. I hope not, I kind of want to read it now.)
  • And I guess it’s a little long – if any book could have benefited from the Hobbit treatment – or, perhaps, more appropriately, the Mockingjay treatment – it’s this one.

But, on the whole, I was engrossed. First by the seemingly willful unconnectedness of everything in the opening act, but also by some of the stories, most particularly Cavendish’s, which I found the most entertaining part.

I really don’t know if the critics saw the same movie I did.


  • Directed by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwerm, Andy Wachowski
  • Produced by Stefan Arndt, Grant Hill, Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski
  • Screenplay by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Based on Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  • Starring
    • Tom Hanks
    • Halle Berry
    • Jim Broadbent
    • Hugo Weaving
    • Jim Sturgess
    • Doona Bae
    • Ben Whishaw
    • James D’Arcy
    • Zhou Xun
    • Keith David
    • David Gyasi
    • Susan Sarandon
    • Hugh Grant
  • Music by Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil
  • Cinematography by John Toll, Frank Griebe
  • Edited by Alexander Berner
  • Production companies: Cloud Atlas Production, X-Filme Creative Pool, Anarchos Productions
  • Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, X-Verleih, Focus Features
  • Release date: 8 September 2012
  • Running time: 171 minutes
  • Country: Germany, United States
  • Language: English
  • Budget: $128.5 million
  • Box office: $130.5 million

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