Cloud Atlas (2012) **

Have you ever sunk your teeth into a piece of cake that looked visually delicious, only to discover it has no real substance? Generally speaking, this would describe the Cloud Atlas experience, another empty Wachowskis (formerly known as the Wachowski Brothers) extravaganza. At 171 minutes long, and a parade of well-known actors playing multiple roles, Cloud Atlas is a titanic of a film. If in the Matrix the Wachowskis attempted, and in the trilogy's first installment partially succeeded, to visualize the Hindu-Buddhist concept of maya – illusion, in Cloud Atlas they are attempting a visualization of the concepts of Karma and reincarnation. But despite the complicated intercutting plotline, which spans centuries and continents, and notwithstanding a respectable line of actors repeating wise-sounding idioms, taken directly from spiritual self-improvement guides, this film is nothing but an empty shell. I have not read the novel on which this production was based, though I hear its much better. I feel like applauding the filmmakers for the effort made to bring such an epic to the big screen, however, whenever I see fluff on display, I get nauseated as one gets after taking in too much sugar. Some people loved the movie for its visuals -- it is true the Wachowskis are very capable in that area. Some audiences felt there is more substance to Cloud Atlas than meets the eye on first seeing the film. I would recommend you try reading the novel instead.