Scrolling Headlines:

Report: UMass football’s Todd Stafford arrested Saturday morning in Stamford, Connecticut -

Monday, July 20, 2015

UMass names Molly O’Mara newly-created associate director of athletics for communications and PR -

Monday, July 20, 2015

Baker approves state budget, UMass to receive $5.25 million less than legislature’s proposed figure -

Friday, July 17, 2015

UMass bathroom policy to provide comfort, safety for transgender and non-gender conforming students -

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Long-time UMass professor Normand Berlin, 83, dies -

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

UMass professor and poet James Tate dies at 71 -

Thursday, July 9, 2015

State legislators propose budget, UMass could receive almost $532 million -

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cause of death determined for UMass student Chloe Malast -

Monday, July 6, 2015

Nick Mariano, Zach Oliveri transferring from UMass men’s lacrosse program -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Four months after banning Iranian students from certain graduate programs, UMass announces new measures to ensure compliance with U.S. law -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Justin King sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison -

Monday, June 29, 2015

Two future UMass hockey players selected in 2015 NHL Draft -

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Supreme Court ruling clears way for same-sex marriage nationwide -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Former UMass center Cady Lalanne taken 55th overall by Spurs in 2015 NBA Draft -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Second of four men found guilty on three counts of aggravated rape in 2012 UMass gang rape case -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Boston bomber speaks out for first time: ‘I am sorry for the lives I have taken’ -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

King claims sex with woman was consensual during alleged 2012 gang rape -

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wrongful death suit filed in death of UMass student -

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ryan Bamford uses online Q&A session to discuss UMass football conference search, renovation plans, cost of attendance -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Opening statements delivered, first witnesses called in second trial for alleged 2012 gang rape at UMass -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

“Cloud Atlas” is equal parts ambitious, confusing and touching

MCT

Whether you are a fan of the novel, or just as an average moviegoer looking for something different, “Cloud Atlas” offers a complicated plot, yet delivers impressive cinematography and acting.

From the point-of-view of a fan there is the tinge of uneasiness that comes from the bond between reader and beloved novel, that such a unique story, full of complex themes and spanning so many different time periods, may have worked well on the page but might not transfer well to the screen. As a moviegoer ignorant of the novel, the idea of a film that skips around different time periods each containing different yet inevitably connected characters is a little confusing and could leave you unsure of what the movie is really about. While both of these concerns are completely warranted, “Cloud Atlas” still delivers a rewarding experience.

“Cloud Atlas” is broken up into six (at first) separate stories taking place in different time periods, spanning from the late 1800’s to the distant future after the fall of civilization. Each of the six stories has different genres and themes, ranging from historical fiction dealing with greed and unlikely friendships to a grim technological future in which an entire race of human being is genetically engineered to serve and cater to “pure blood” consumers. Each story is connected by the ideas that the actions of any individual in the past can and will affect someone in the future and love is everlasting and can even transcend death.

The film was written and directed by Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski. Each of them directed a different part of the film that easily could have led to a broken-feeling film with clashing styles, but these three were able to work together so well that it felt as if the film had just one director. However, since the film covered so many different genres, some of them, particularly the sci-fi section, felt a little flat and fell into certain tropes of the given genre.

This is a minor complaint as these sections are still enjoyable due to the well-played relationships between the characters, which is the true goal of the film. This goal is reached easily due to the star-studded cast including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving and Hugh Grant among others. Each actor plays a different role in each of the stories, changing between protagonist, antagonist or side-character. This stellar cast performs extremely well, whether they are the star of a particular tale or just a minor role in it.

“Cloud Atlas” also triumphs in its cinematography, artfully presenting each new setting giving each story added depth. Every time period, whether past, present or future is well fleshed out and represents its genre perfectly. There is true attention to detail in this film, as each story you enter feels like it has existed for a long time. The film also blends together well through smooth transitions between the different tales, making the film a comfortable experience for the audience.

The true strength of “Cloud Atlas” is its ability to rapidly switch between so many different time periods and genres, while simultaneously keeping certain themes present throughout them and making these characters feel somehow connected. Social issues and love are the most prominent themes in each story, revolving around the two souls who are continuously meeting one another in different ways throughout time. While this is confusing at first, you will quickly start to see who they are in each period, making the film feel coherent, even if sometimes it feels as though they are breaking away from a story too soon or sticking with another for too long.

Overall, “Cloud Atlas” is a very ambitious film that takes on a near unadaptable piece of literature and makes it work on the big screen. It will confuse you at times and bore you at others, but for the most part it is an incredibly exciting and interesting film. It might not be for everybody, as it is such an unusual experience, but the payoff of seeing the connection between so many characters and the expert blending of so many genres and themes all connected by the idea of love transcending death is well worth the risk.

Cory Willey can be reached at cjwilley@student.umass.edu.

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