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"Cloud Atlas" Is A Visual Masterpiece

Sarah Mickelson |
November 1, 2012 | 1:50 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

A nearly unrecognizable Halle Berry in "Cloud Atlas" (Warner Bros. Pictures)
A nearly unrecognizable Halle Berry in "Cloud Atlas" (Warner Bros. Pictures)
“Cloud Atlas” (in theaters now), the latest film by the Wachowski’s, is not as confusing as the trailers make it appear and is a beautiful example of movie ingenuity.

At one point over the past couple weeks you’ve probably asked yourself, “What IS Cloud Atlas?” The movie’s trailers didn’t seem to answer that question, but that shouldn’t deter you from seeing what I consider one of the best movies of 2012.

Cloud Atlas”, adapted from a book of the same title, weaves together six seemingly separate stories to demonstrate how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present, and future. But this isn’t one of those cheesy movies like Valentine’s Day or New Years Eve where you find out everyone knows each other. Instead the stories are set during drastically different time periods and only overlap in the subtlest of ways. One of the ways the stories intertwine is perhaps the greatest aspect of the film: the ingenuous recycling of characters.

Each story uses the same ten actors, but each of the actors is transformed into someone almost unrecognizable using extensive makeup and costumes. Actually, half the fun of the movie is figuring out which actor is which. I’ll give you a helpful tip: a minute after the credits start rolling, there are pictures of all the characters an actor portrayed throughout the movie, and I guarantee you will be shocked by how many actors you didn’t recognize.

The movie is part science fiction, part drama, part comedy, and doesn’t skimp on the action. Actually the action of one story in particular was eerily reminiscent of The Matrix Trilogies, but this makes sense since the Wachowski siblings directed those trilogies as well as “Cloud Atlas”. But a movie of this magnitude and intricate storylines required not two, but a rare three directors in total, the third director being Tom Tykwer.

I’ll admit that for the first five minutes of the movie I was extremely confused; I felt like I had missed a piece of the story. But soon after, the pieces started to fit together. “Cloud Atlas” will keep you so entertained that you won’t realize you’ve been watching it for almost three hours.

To my surprise, the movie didn’t do well at the box office its opening weekend, which I can only imagine is due to the fact that no one really knows what the movie is about. But I urge you to go see it anyways; after all, isn’t there something exciting about not having a clue what you’re about to watch? 

Reach Staff Reporter Sarah Mickelson here.



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