Cloud Atlas

Warner Bros.

If you've found yourself watching the trailer for Cloud Atlas and wondering what the heck is going on, you'll probably still feel that way after actually watching the movie.

Although the film has an interesting plot with a good meaning behind it, critics seem to feel that the film adaptation of David Mitchell's novel wasn't able to fully translate on the big screen. 

So you're left with a movie that almost feels like a bad relationship: It requires all of your attention, and once it's over, there's little closure. 

• "Maybe if you're 20 years old and high in your dorm room with your friends, the platitudes presented here might seem profound. Anyone else in his or her right mind should recognize it for what it is: a bloated, pseudo-intellectual, self-indulgent slog through some notions that are really rather facile," movie critic Christy Lemire wrote. 

• "The filmmakers are betting on audiences being both willing to pay close attention, as underlying connections emerge, and willing to go along for a ride, without a clue as to the destination. The filmmakers are gambling, in fact, on the intelligence and patience of the sci-fi action audience. Let's wish them luck," says Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle. "Still, despite some weaknesses, a sense gradually emerges in this film- not just an idea, but a strong feeling mixed with an idea - about the dance of good and evil over time. 

• Ty Burr of The Boston Globe explained, "At its best, the movie has a rapturous long-range vision that shows us how human kindness and cruelty can function as viruses, passed from host to host in an unending chain of conflicting individual actions. At its worst, it grabs us by the lapels and tells us."

Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Turan says, "Finally, what sinks Cloud Atlas is not the largeness of its ambitions but the lack of skill it displays in terms of writing, directing and acting. Earthbound when it wants to be soaring, striving for a kind of profundity that is out of its grasp, this is simply not the film everyone hoped it would be." 

• Alonso Duralde from finds that the concentration needed for this film is, "the kind of challenge that spawns rabid admirers and equally fervent detractors, although I must say I find myself somewhere in the middle. It's a puzzle I enjoyed piecing together, but when each tale came to a close and built up to what was intended to be a soaring, emotional climax, I felt no flutter in the chest or tingle up my spine. I absolutely admire this adaptation of David Mitchell's novel as an impressive object, but it never moved me."

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