Written by / 10/26/2012 / 1 Comment / , , , , ,

CLOUD ATLAS

year: 2012 cast: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent rating: ***
Everything is connected – that’s how we spend three hours of CLOUD ATLAS, a grand scale epic with characters from the past, present, and future – all leading to a few big secrets that, once revealed, pale to the encapsulated lives of real human beings: Ranging from a journalist (Berry) seeking the truth about nuclear energy while a hit man lurks in the shadows. Or a young man on a clipper ship being slowly poisoned, befriended by a rogue slave who becomes his protector.

A more lighthearted tale has Jim Broadbent as an aged book editor trying to escape an old folks home. The wide-scoped stories include an Asian worker/clone in a BLADE RUNNER-looking future seeking the truth of her origin. And an even more distant time has a nomadic Tom Hanks aided by an interstellar Halle Berry to free his people from tyranny. A musical piece titled The Cloud Atlas connects things in a somewhat linear fashion  – written by a young gay man working for a cantankerous has-been composer (Broadbent again), who may never get credit for the surreptitious masterpiece.

The three directors, including the brains behind THE MATRIX, hand off each piece nicely, combining romance, melodrama, and laser-blasting action... The pace only drags when one too many peaks occur without closure. The final payoffs, including Big Oil and Racism, are a tad simplistic and could have been dreamt up by a socially conscious sixth grader. But what makes CLOUD ATLAS never shrug to the epic scale is that each level has its own basic energy: you’ll not only want to see how everything connects as a whole, but how each person survives all that fate has to offer. 
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