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'Cloud Atlas' is occasionally exhilarating but mostly confusing (+trailer)

'Cloud Atlas' features a large cast, and it's fun to spot who's who. But the mash-up plot of 'Cloud Atlas' is largely exasperating.

'Cloud Atlas' trailer
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David Mitchell’s notoriously unfilmable 500-plus-page 2004 novel, “Cloud Atlas,” has, inevitably, been filmed, and by no less than Tom Tykwer (“Run Lola Run”) and siblings Lana and Andy Wachowski (“The Matrix” movies). The result is maddening, exasperating, occasionally exhilarating – and mostly boring.

Mitchell’s novel chronicles multiple stories from widely different eras past to future. The movie is far less chronological in its approach, weaving story lines willy-nilly in a way that is meant to illustrate the interconnectivity of life but too often comes across like a mash-up. We are dropped into the Pacific Islands in 1849; into 1936 Cambridge, England; San Francisco in 1973;  London in 1912; a futuristic “New Seoul"; and a post-apocalyptic Hawaii.


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