Most Anticipated: Cloud Atlas

43. Cloud Atlas (R) - Runtime: 172 minutes
Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant
Director: Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski, Tom Tykwer

I didn't know what to expect from this one. On one hand, you have the guys who were behind the Matrix trilogy, on the other hand, you have the guys who were behind the Matrix trilogy. Yeah, I didn't initially want to put this on my list, but when an eighth movie dropped from 2012 to 2013, Cloud Atlas stood out as something unique and possibly brilliant. I dare say this movie is as pretentious as you can get (well, maybe not Tree of Life pretentious, but close enough) - but damn it sure was a fun pretentious movie and one of my favorite movies this year.

There's six separate stories interwoven throughout the movie and they're all loosely connected to each other, whether by characters or loose plot threads. The story is hard to quantify and explain in a simple paragraph - but suffice to say that there's a lot of fate of humanity-esque plots for the future storylines, but also the movie mixes in some comedy and very moving and dramatic character-driven stories as well. It all blends together and is exceptionally edited that no matter where the movie takes you, you're never in for a dull moment.

I had a lot of fun with this movie - there's a sense of urgency you start to feel about halfway through and you really start to wonder how things are going to shake out for each timeline's story. Even though it seems overwhelming, it's nice how the movie weaves in and out of each story. It helps add to the "everything is connected" narrative driving most of the plot. If you love epic action stories, this has a couple. If you love a sad romance story, this movie has a couple as well. Even a comedic plot line is thrown in for good measure. So this movie has something for everyone and I dare say it's just so well put together.

The performances are great as well! It's amazing how versatile all the actors are in this movie - Tom Hanks goes to places I've never seen him go before. Hugh Grant and Hugo Weaving are magnificent as well. They all play different characters in each of the six timelines and when the final credits roll, it was interesting to see who they all played! I didn't realize it was a certain actor until they showed those credits! It was fun to watch some of these iconic actors slip into roles that made them nearly indistinguishable from there normal looks. In fact, part of the movie can be read as an allegory for gender roles and the different masks we put on for certain social situations. It sounds a little bit bullshit, but if you delve deep enough, the movie has a lot to say about our social culture.

And besides all the great characters and actors and the deep, meaningful story, the movie just looks amazing! I loved how each timeline had it's own distinct feel to it. The future didn't feel to cold or sterile, nor did the past look to stale. Each timeline was beautifully shot and put together. Even the costume design I was impressed and normally I don't care about that stuff at all!

This was an epic undertaking for the Wachowskis and they deserve all the accolades thrown at them. This is a great movie that doesn't wear out its welcomes, even after two and a half hours. I think this movie has a little bit of everything for most people to enjoy. It's a deeply moving story about how our lives ripple out to affect the future and the consequences of our actions, good or bad. There's a lot to read into the story and how they're all connected, but each timeline's story has it's own layers also. I loved every minute of this movie!

Rating: See It!

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