Postmodern novel becomes ambitious indie film

Featuring a large ensemble cast, “Cloud Atlas” may be the most expensive independent film to date. It is certainly one of the most ambitious. The 172-minute film features an outstanding ensemble cast including talented actors such as Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving and Halle Berry.
“Cloud Atlas” is a difficult film to write about. It is complex and at times confusing. It follows six different storylines, each set in a different time period. The stories range from a tale about a 19th-century sea voyage to cyberpunk and post-apocalyptic futures. The film follows different characters as they are reincarnated and interact with each other in different timelines. Their roles are often different, as are their gender and race. The interconnected nature of the six stories reflects the interactions of the characters. The main character of each particular segment reads, listens or watches some sort of record pertaining to the segment preceding theirs. One point that the film explores is the way that the lives and actions of different people affect others and the world around them.
The cast for this film is outstanding. Most of the actors play at least six different characters as the film progresses. Tom Hanks manages to steal the show in every scene he is in. All of his characters are interesting and grab the viewer’s attention. He is especially good in the first and last segments. These two performances greatly show his versatility as an actor. Halle Berry is also excellent in her roles, giving strong performances leading two of the segments.
Jim Sturgess and Jim Broadbent both give excellent performances as well. Broadbent shows the most comedic ability from the entire cast in the segment he stars in. Hugo Weaving is great in his roles, one of which will make you laugh out loud when you see him. The character he plays in the post-apocalyptic future segment is one of the most unique roles in his career. Korean actress Bae Doona delivers a dynamite performance in her roles. She is especially good in leading the cyberpunk segment of the story. She has the majority of the screen time in this segment and the progression and development that her character goes through is especially interesting.
The visual effects of the film are stunning. Each time period the film takes place in has its own visual motif and style that stands out as unique and memorable. The design of the city Neo-Seoul in the cyberpunk segments is breathtaking, harkening back to famous books and films in the genre, including “Blade Runner” and “Neuromancer.”
The costume and makeup work was also extremely effective in the film. Despite how well it looks, the makeup has received some criticism. This is because makeup and prosthetics are used to portray white actors as Korean, and Korean actress Bae Doona as white. This casting choice was made so that the reincarnation motif would be more apparent. However, it has been met with some criticism by people regarding it as racist.
The 172-minute film has amazing pacing and does not feel like a long movie. “Cloud Atlas” is one of the most unique films to come along in recent memory. It is well worth watching. Opinions on the film may be polarizing: some viewers may be turned off by its complex and intricate plot, or intimidated by the sheer number of characters it boasts. The film will certainly make the viewer think as the plot unfolds and the relations between the stories are revealed. Hopefully people will take the time to view it and see for themselves.