Cloud Atlas


Review by Lucia Santiago Dantes.

The Wachowski brothers are back! This time with their new film Cloud Atlas, and adaptation of the novel by David Mitchell. Although the film is quite extensive for the average cinemagoer (3 hours) you hardly feel tired as the film is quite intriguing.

Cloud Atlas premiered at hte Toronto International Film Festival with  an standing ovation of 10 minutes. The story is a prism of several stories through mankind beginning at  the 19th century and finishing many years in a dystopian post apocalyptic future, all united by the story of a clone named Sonmi-45 (Bae Doona) who is chronologically speaking not the last story as there is still one more story to tell after her own.

What’s interesting about the film is that all  the stories in Cloud Atlas are connected not only with thematic resources as love, oppression, rebellion but also visually speaking we see the same cast switching roles in all the stories creating a thematic unity of love, hope and redemption that’s even more compelling to audiences.

(read only if you don’t mind spoilers)

The stories in the film are told intercut and straight forward, contrary to the book ,  Being the far dystopian futuristic story called in the book “An Orison of Sonmi~451″ the backbone of all the stories in the film which diverges at some point from the book. If you want to read more about the differences between the book and the film  here‘s a great article about it  If you want to read just a bit about the stories keep reading.

The first story is called in the book “The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing”  and tells the odyssey of Adam (Adam Ewing)  a man who is in the Chatham Islands around 1850 and witness the enslaving of a tribe. During his travel he becomes acquainted with Dr. Henri Goose (Tom Hanks) who secretly poisons Adam in order to get his money. On the boat they’re both traveling the now slave Autua (David Gyasi) who tries by all means to scape his faith. “Letters from Zedelghem” is the chronological next story about an english musician who gets a job as a amanuensis of a famous composer in Belgium. Book and film the story is told in letters to his true love Rufus Sixsmith (James D’Arcy). Half Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery is about a young journalist investigating a nuclear power plant in the mid 70s, while The Ghastly Oredal of Timothy Cavendish is a hilarious story about Timothy Cavendish (Jim Boradbent) is a vanity presss publisher who is confined against his will on a retirement home and his ordeal to scape the retirement. An Orison of Sonmi-451 takes place in the dystopian futuristic city of Nea So Copros (Korea) and we don’t know too much this  futuristic society as we see the story on the character’s point of view of Sonmi-451 who is probably almost at the bottom of the social status. Somni-451 is a clone or fabricant who works as a server in a fast food restaurant. She has a very reclusive life as all the fabricants. Her life starts and ends in small chambers or pods where they go to sleep after a hard work’s day and a box of meal. They are the new kind of slavery.  She becomes the leader of a rebellion after realizing the “ascension” for most of the clones is none other than death. The last chronological story is the post apocalyptic story after a nuclear holocaust. Society has disappeared and people lives now as tribes. Zachry (Tom Hanks) a goat herder as well as all the tribe prays to their benvolent god Sonmi for  their crops, protection and fortune.

The film is quite intrguing and this time Lana and Andy Wachowski team up with To Tykwer writing and directing the film. As for principal photography, the Wachowski brothers direct the nineteenth century story and the 2 stories set in the future, while Tykwer helmed the other 3 stories (30s, 70s and present days).

As complicated as it seems the film is very clear and as I said before unified by the cast playing similar roles regarding love stories but also multitasking to reappear as different characters but with the same attributes in the next stories.



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