RR LogoCloud Atlas Starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry Is A Movie You Should See

Cloud Atlas Photo One

Cloud Atlas, which is now playing at the cinemas and stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Jim Broadbent and Ben Whishaw, with Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant and Keith David in supporting roles, is a 164 minute epic film based on David Mitchell’s novel of the same name and adapted for the screen by writers Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer, all three of whom also directed this movie. Is it the best film that you will see or have seen in 2012? We are not sure, but it is likely the most thought provoking film you will watch.

We are tempted to say that what makes this film so powerful is the brilliant script however, that would be depriving the actors and actresses of some well deserved credit for the performances they turned in, so let us say that both were simply brilliant. The premise of the film is that we are all connected from womb to tomb and the choices that we make not only impact us, but they also impact the lives of others in the present, the past and the future. Most of the main actors and actresses in Cloud Atlas play numerous characters and they too transcend the past, present and future. The makeup artists were outstanding, for instance I never caught on that Dr. Ovid, who is a man was played by Halle Berry, nor did I clue in that she also played a Jewish German woman. There were also some other impressive physical transformations for other members of the cast. As for Tom Hanks, well he was simply Tom Hanks, seldom looking like he was acting and more often making us believe that he really was the person we were watching and bringing those characters to life. For us, Tom Hanks’ strongest performance comes as Zachry, who lives in the valley and deals with his daily demons and then encounters Halle Berry’s character Meronym. Ms. Berry is outstanding in her role as Meronym who is out to save her world and as Luisa Rey, who is…well out to save her world, only in a completely different timeline.

Does Cloud Atlas sound complicated? Good, because it is. If you are looking for a movie that is merely going to entertain you, this may not be your film, but if you want something with far more substance that will cause you to think, to look inward and to ask significant questions then you should buy a ticket to see this movie. There are several situations where there is violence and some of it may make you a bit squeamish. Riveting Riffs Magazine has long been outspoken against gratuitous violence in movies, but the violent scenes that do take place are appropriate.

In her interview promoting Cloud Atlas Halle Berry describes her roles in this way, “Each one of those characters, the soul evolved in order to have the strength to be the character that I ended up being,” and she went on to note, “What I can say is it has been a once in a lifetime filmmaking experience. I will never be a part of another film like this in my life. I know it and therefore, it is always going to be special and I will always remember the experience and everything that I got from it.”

Prior to the movie’s release Tom Hanks referred to Cloud Atlas as unlike any movie he had seen before and he had only witnessed ten minutes of the final film.

Actor Keith David said, “Are you kidding this whole movie is an actor’s dream. Not only do you get to play great characters, which is wonderful, but you get to play with such a wonderful group of actors, everyone whose work I highly respect, have seen and have enjoyed.”

One of the acting performances I thoroughly enjoyed in this film came from British actor Jim Sturgess whom filmgoers may recognize from Across The Universe where he was cast in the lead role as Jude. He also appeared in The Other Boleyn Girl with Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson and he was Dexter in the 2011 film One Day, with Anne Hathaway.

Cloud Atlas is about a soul’s journey not through one lifetime, but through many lifetimes.  When Doona Baye’s character Sonmi – 451 is asked during an inquisition whether or not she believes in a life beyond her current one, she replied that she believes that when one door closes, another door opens into a new life and that is the essence of this film. There is another message throughout this film that is poignantly summed up by one line in the movie, “Freedom for those deprived of it, have the best inkling of what it is.”

We would not recommend taking children to see Cloud Atlas, because it is very intense and when there are scenes of violence they would definitely be frightening to children however, it is the conviction of this writer and this magazine, that every adult should watch this film.

Reviewed by Joe Montague

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