If you'll recall, last week, I had intentions of reviewing Cloud Atlas but my plans fell through. The result was a vague preview of the film. This week I was able to deliver on my promise.
Last night when I was leaving to see Cloud Atlas, my wife asked me what it was about. My response was that I didn't know and with a puzzled look on her face, she said "Why are you going to see a movie that you don't know anything about?"
So, what's it about? I still have no idea. There are six different storylines in the film and the outcome of one does not impact the other. They span different time periods and are very distinct in their beginnings and ends. So, if you go see Cloud Atlas, don't go looking for a connecting plot because you won't find one. The thing you should look for is the connection between the characters in the story because even though they span different time periods, they are connected by things that elicit certain emotions such as music, books, a button, a key, and other tiny objects that manage to pass through time.
The most intriguing (and interesting) experience of watching Cloud Atlas is looking for the actors in each story arc. Each member of the primary cast plays different characters in each story line. They cross time periods and even genders. It's an interesting process to watch and even though the actors and characters jump around, the story still makes you like the characters which is the most important aspect of good storytelling.
Yes, Cloud Atlas checks in at nearly 3 hours but as with most films I watch, I gave it the watch test. My ratio of how far into the film I look at the time versus how much time is left when I look at it goes a long way in my decision of whether or not I liked a film or would recommend it to anyone else. The first time I looked at the clock in Cloud Atlas was an hour into it. That doesn't sound good for a 3 hour film but at that point it had felt longer as the stories were still developing. The next time I looked, only 10 minutes remained. I consider that to be a long time between watch checks and I take that away to say that it took Cloud Atlas a little while to get going but once it did I was hooked.