Although I wanted to read the book before I watched the movie, I have yet to buy the book so the movie had to come first. Having watched the movie, I’m not sure how it would have been reading the book first. The book would surely have more detail, but with so many plot lines and timelines I imagine it can be hard to keep track.
Cloud Atlas is a film based on the novel of the same title by David Mitchell. As with all books to movies, the book will always have more information than the movie is able to provide. The film features 7 different time periods and different characters throughout. Each period is connected to one another or actions that occur in one time period effect others. Traits shift and change, while others continue to have the same qualities throughout time. The most interesting and enjoyable factor of this film is how they portrayed each character in all the different time periods. One actor or actress is portrayed as someone else over time. They even switch races. Caucasians made to look asian, asians to look caucasian, black to look asian, and black to look caucasian. Some of them you are able to notice right away who the character hiding behind the makeup, other times it is more difficult.
The film stars some big name actors and actresses such as Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw and Keith David. Each character portrays someone in the following times:
1849 – South Pacific
1936 – Cambridge, England and Edinburgh, Scotland
1973 – San Francisco, California
2012 – United Kingdom
2144 – Neo Seoul, Korea
2321 or 106 after The Fall – The Big Island
The ending features characters in the future from the last known time in the story, but they do not reveal a date. The only indication of time is the aging of the characters.
There is a lot to read into this movie. I really would like to read the book and hopefully get more insight and information, as I feel there is a lot I either missed or could not gain from the movie. The film is quite lengthy sitting right under the 3 hour mark. The movie is wonderfully done, the stories are captivating and so imaginative. It is like a bunch of movies all together, played by the same actors and actresses.
If you have the time Cloud Atlas is a great movie that is different from most films out there. This is not a mindless film however, as you will benefit more from making the connections and trying to piece things together. I imagine I will fall in love with this book!