The film takes you into five different centuries that looks interesting. The whole cast gets reincarnated in different characters throughout the film, and they all had exceptional performances.
Once the non-linear narrative kicks in, that’s when things become a jumbled mess. Cloud Atlas starts with an incomprehensible Tom Hanks playing some kind of tribesman in the future. The film then goes back in forth, using assumed character connections and thematic links. The narrative barely settles in one spot which hinders any emotional engagement. The result is more like a mash-up of trailers that’s almost three hours long.
Each of the stories, when taken apart, doesn’t really have anything profound to say. In fact, they’re just simple story arcs of good vs. evil. Most are borrowed ideas from other familiar films – One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Amistad, Blade Runner, Apocalypto, and every other crime thriller involving a reporter against a big evil organization.
The overlong running time eventually takes its toll. Cloud Atlas is supposed to be about interconnectedness, but the film fails to connect nor resonate.
Cloud Atlas is like a New Age ideology that promises divine knowledge, but in reality, already tells us something that we already know.
Cloud Atlas amounts to no more than a tedious unengaging montage of trailers that test your patience.