Synopsis: Six separate stories spanning from the 1800s to the 22nd Century linked thematically by ideas of reincarnation, love, freedom, destiny and redemption.
Stan's thoughts: Life of Pi proved that what was thought to be an unfilmable book could translate to the big screen and Cloud Atlas has similarly broken the mould, although I do wonder how much those who haven't read it actually get out of the film. The screen adaptation is far less subtle, I suppose for this very reason. Having your key actors pop up in medium and minor roles in all the story lines is something that only works on the screen and makes for quite a fun game of 'spot the actor behind the make up'.
Plots have been tinkered with upping the drama and I tried hard not to draw comparisons with the book as that inevitably disappoints but I couldn't help it with the Frobisher storyline - my favourite in the book and on screen featuring my fav Ben Whishaw. I remember being completely charmed by Frobisher and moved as it built up to the tragic suicide (not a plot spoiler as it happens very early in the film) but this, despite magnificent performances from Mr W, James D'Arcy and Jim Broadbent, was somehow diminished in the film.
Each of Mitchell's stories could make a film in its own right and in condensing down the book to two hours and 40 minutes you do lose a lot of the characterisation and some of the plot but where the film works is in the visualisation of his worlds. It is truly breathtaking in its scope and imagination and held my attention throughout.
Without breaking it up and concentrating on fewer plotlines I'm not sure how they could have made this better. Oh and if nothing else it is worth watching just to see Hugh Grant released from the rom-com shackles and having a thoroughly good time.
Definitely one to watch again on DVD and I'm hoping for a good commentary as I imagine there are plenty of tales to tell about its making. (My Cloud Atlas claim to fame is that I've walked down the street in Glasgow that doubled for the Louisa Rey/San Francisco shoot out).
- Stan's: 78%
- IMDB: 78%
- Metascore: 55%
- Rotten Tomatoes: 66%