Jack Goes Confidential: Womb To Tomb—Timebending ‘CLOUD ATLAS’

CLOUD ATLAS is a massive, intense undertaking that’s said to have cost in the neighborhood of $100 million to produce…

But let me forewarn you that it’s not an easy movie to watch or to follow as its storyline is NOT told in chronological order.

With a running time of nearly three hours, CLOUD ATLAS tells six stories exploring how actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, present and the future.

“Why are we making the same mistakes over and over?”

What we’ve got here is the interlaced storytelling of six unrelated novellas in time cutting back and forth from the 1840’s to mid 2100’s. Stories cover the spectrums of love, hope, courage, life and death—yet dramatically offer a connection that spans the decades.

“Death is only a tool. When it comes, another one opens.”

Based on David Mitchell‘s intriguing novel, this is a story that thought to be impossible to transform into a motion picture. Whoever said that could be right as it will leave many a moviegoer scratching their heads.

CLOUD ATLAS utilizes the talents of three directors who also wrote the screenplay.

Namely Andy and Larry Wachowski (Ooops, make that Lana since the sex change) of THE MATRIX and SPEED RACER fame and Tom Tykwer probably best known for his 1998 arresting German film RUN LOLA RUN.

Almost forgot the cast!

It’s an impressive one too, including Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Hugh Grant and Susan Sarandon. ALL in multiple roles. Tom Hanks alone plays six parts with action, mystery and romance connecting across the centuries.

My favorite scene in the film takes place at a rooftop cocktail party where one of Hank’s multiple characters throws a pompous critic over the railing to his death. So much for snobby criticism.

A movie buff sitting next to me at the screening of CLOUD ATLAS probably summed it up best. “I’m glad I didn’t bring my wife,” he said. “She probably would’ve made us leave about an hour into it.”

In all fairness though, things all come together—providing you can figure it all out, of course.

CLOUD ATLAS is one of those movies that for full comprehension should be seen twice. But that’s asking a lot considering the film’s running time.

I won’t be going back.

So of if the TV commercials for CLOUD ATLAS are driving you to see this epic at least now know what you’re in for. Shades of TREE OF LIFE with touches of BLADE RUNNER maybe.

Forward, backward and sideways at times. From womb to tomb. The boundary of noise and sound. Whatever. It IS impressive film making for sure. But it’s hard for me to recommend  CLOUD ATLAS to the average movie fan who may leave the theater questioning themselves as to what they’ve just been through for the past three hours. And why they spent all that money on a ticket.

That’s why in good conscience I’m raising just 2-1/2 out of 5 time-bending fingers.

JACK GOES TO THE MOVIES: On Radio / On Cable / On Line.

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7 Responses to Jack Goes Confidential: Womb To Tomb—Timebending ‘CLOUD ATLAS’

  1. Reggin Tnuc says:

    Mr. Jack, how would you compare this to Tree of Life? Better, worse? Should I actually see it or just say I did to impress my friends? I am a fan of movies that push the intellectual barrier. As you describe it this movie seems like much more Hollywood poo-poo that doesn’t really advance any big ideas or thoughts. Many thanks in advance for your consideration of my questions.

    • jack p. says:

      Hi Reggin,
      Don’t ever pay for something just to impress friends. Does this movie push the intellectual barrier? To some it might. It didn’t for me. My recommendation would be to spend the money on a ticket to see “ARGO” instead. And if you’ve already seen it then hang on the wad to see Denzel Washington in “FLIGHT” next week—or, for that matter, the next Bond on 11/9.
      Enjoy your weekend.

      • Reggin Tnuc says:

        Mr. Jack, I did see ARGO. Ben Affleck is forgiven for both Gigli and Ishtar. It is the second time in my movie attending life, The Sixth Sense being the first, that I would have paid more money leaving the movie. It is amazing what Hollywood can do when it focuses on making high quality products.

        • jack p. says:

          Glad you enjoyed it. Excellent word of mouth keeps propelling this movie right now.
          I think you’ll be impressed by Denzel Washinton’s performance in “FLIGHT” as well. It’s quite a character study!

  2. chuck says:

    Not what I expected Jack. The trailers look so cool.


  3. Ryan T says:

    Hello Jack,

    As trans issues are only just beginning to enter popular culture I am sure that your reference to Lana by her pre-transition name is just ignorance, but it’s considered very rude to call any trans person by their former name or, frankly, call anyone the name they don’t call themselves.

    Please help spread the word!

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