Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Zack Snyder Defends 'Man Of Steel' Finale, Ben Affleck Reveals Bruce Wayne Knew People Who Died In That Battle Zack Snyder Defends 'Man Of Steel' Finale, Ben Affleck Reveals Bruce Wayne Knew People Who Died In That Battle New Book Contends Eric Stoltz Was “Difficult” & The Cast Wasn’t Shocked He Was Replaced On ‘Back To The Future’ New Book Contends Eric Stoltz Was “Difficult” & The Cast Wasn’t Shocked He Was Replaced On ‘Back To The Future’ Watch: Scott Lang Wants To Call The Avengers In New International 'Ant-Man' Trailer Watch: Scott Lang Wants To Call The Avengers In New International 'Ant-Man' Trailer The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far Zack Snyder Reveals The Easter Egg Idea He Pitched Christopher Nolan And David Goyer For 'Man Of Steel' Zack Snyder Reveals The Easter Egg Idea He Pitched Christopher Nolan And David Goyer For 'Man Of Steel' New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season

The Most Polarizing Film Of The Year? What Did You Think Of 'Cloud Atlas?

The Playlist By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist October 29, 2012 at 10:00AM

It might have disappointed at the box office this weekend (although disappointment is a big word for a result that anyone with two eyes and a heart could have saw coming months ago), but in cine-circles, "Cloud Atlas" has been the center of conversation. The adaptation of the best-selling David Mitchell novel, directed by Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski, and costing an independently-financed $100 million, it's a bold, genre-spanning film with an all-star cast, and great ambitions than pretty much everything released in theaters in the last month.
14
Cloud Atlas Poster Header

It might have disappointed at the box office this weekend (although disappointment is a big word for a result that anyone with two eyes and a heart could have saw coming months ago), but in cine-circles, "Cloud Atlas" has been the center of conversation. The adaptation of the best-selling David Mitchell novel, directed by Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski, and costing an independently-financed $100 million, it's a bold, genre-spanning film with an all-star cast, and greater ambitions than pretty much everything released in theaters in the last month.

Ever since premiering at TIFF in September, the film has been splitting critics. Some have called it the best film of the year, a boundary-pushing, medium-changing piece of cinema. Others have called it a laughable mess, and among the worst of the year. While we've not quite been going to the same extremes, those among The Playlist team who have seen it are just as divided.

Now that you've had a chance to catch up on it, we want to hear what you think, and for a little encouragement, 5 Playlist team members have written about their own varied reactions to the film, in addition to our official review from TIFF (read it here). Check them out below, and let us know your own response in the comments sections below.

Cloud Atlas, Jim Sturgess
Cloud Atlas” is an easy movie to marvel at, but a harder one to love. Still, like a soul being pulled through time and space, I do love it. A Russian nesting doll of a movie that seems conversely for everyone and no one, it attempts to represent the breadth of the human experience, in a spirit of universality, but is, at times, abrasively strange. There is something profound and earnest about “Cloud Atlas” (I think), underneath all the mumbo jumbo and there were moments, both individual and when the different stories bump up against each other, echoing and rippling through the cosmos, that genuinely choked me up. But at other times the decisions that the directorial trifecta made are confounding and seem downright wrong – why, for instance, didn’t they choose to replicate a different style for each section (black-and-white 4:3 for the pre-World War II section; a kind of seventies paranoid thriller vibe for the Luisa Rey section)? And why, for a movie that seems like it could be endlessly referential, does it not touch on any pop culture hallmarks? It stands alone, an archipelago with six islands. The biggest problem with “Cloud Atlas,” though, is that its dazzling narrative architecture, the toggling back and forth and braiding together of a half-dozen different storylines, also, at times, actively works against the movie. It’s hard to get a foothold in any of the different threads when you are constantly being jerked out of one and thrust into another. As someone who saw the movie with me said afterwards, “It’s like tourism as opposed to traveling.” The strongest veins in the book remain the strongest here (particularly the Sixsmith section and the Somni section), with some of the other sections taking a hit in their transition (I was expecting more from the Luisa Rey mystery, to be honest) and others flourishing in unexpected ways (the Cavendish section had a surprising kick, with Tykwer’s zany German sensibilities working overtime). All of that said, “Cloud Atlas” does an admirable job with a scale and scope that is both epic and intimate, and no matter how much you can intellectually dissect the film (as seen above), it still resonates as a singularly powerful experience. From womb to tomb. [A-] - Drew Taylor

Jim Broadbent Susan Sarandon Cloud Atlas
"Cloud Atlas" is film of polarities, inconsistencies, pleasant surprises and an overwhelmingly hopeful, humanistic streak. For such a BIG movie, it’s far more intimate than expected. And while it doesn't always get the little things right (the Asian and whiteface makeup that's not racist, per se, but disconcerting, for sure), it absolutely knocks the big things out of the park. It's a decidedly liberal film, and after a summer of blockbusters like the nihilistic, conservative "The Dark Knight Rises" (a Randian wet dream if there ever was one), and the cheerfully apolitical (yet willing to muck about with 9/11 imagery!) "The Avengers," getting a grand, sweeping movie that is so unabashedly liberal like "Cloud Atlas" is a breath of fresh air. As the stories weave in and out of each other, discovering  the themes along the way is part of the process of taking in this wacky, weird and wonderful movie. Of course, some actors in some roles are going to be more successful than others, and special attention must be paid to the delightful Jim Broadbent as publisher Timothy Cavendish, trapped in an old-folks home (his every reaction shot is GIF-worthy), Doona Bae as a soulful fabricant in Neo-Seoul, and the unparalleled Ben Whishaw as a struggling composer in the 1930s. It's best to go into "Cloud Atlas" with as little preconceived notions, expectations or judgments in mind, and just enjoy the twisty cognitive journey on which you're about to embark. As it expounds upon themes of identity, individualism, destiny, compassion, and karma, you'll realize that this is only a movie that could be made by Lana Wachowski (and Andy and Tom Twyker). For an unfilmable book, I think they did a pretty damn impressive job, even if everything isn't perfect. [B+] - Katie Walsh

This article is related to: Cloud Atlas, The Wachowskis, Tom Tykwer


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates