Of the many big-name films unspooling at TIFF in September, perhaps the crown jewel is the world premiere of The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer‘s “Cloud Atlas.” The star-studded, sprawling, ambitious adaptation of David Mitchell‘s novel will be unveiled before hitting theaters in October, but it looks Warner Bros. is still gauging audience reactions to this thing.
The folks at JoBlo have compiled a handful of comments from the web and Twitter from test screenings for the film, which as you might expect feature both praise and criticism. On the high end, there’s this rather effusive reaction: “I have to say that this film totally blew me away! Leave it to the very creative and innovative Wachowski’s and Tom Tykwer to make this complex book into a GREAT film.. .According to my watch, the film ran 2hrs. 50min. but you would never know it because time just flew by. Cloud Atlas has it all… action, adventure, romance, humor, and several very touching moments. It captures every emotion imaginable and keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. I can honestly say it’s one of the best films I’ve seen in years and definitely like nothing I’ve ever seen before! And the rest of the audience also seemed to love the film… there was long and loud applause after the film and lots of positive chatter going on around me. I can’t wait for each and every one of you to see it!!!”
But not everyone was impressed with the grand scale and multiple narrative threads of the film. “The movie was over 3 hours and it did tend to drag a little. there were 5 different stories going at once so it was a little confusing for the first hour,” one viewer said, while another stated “it was one hot convoluted mess.” However, one person seemed to put all the feedback in perspective, perhaps offering the most level-headed summation of what we can all expect:
This isn’t going to be a major Oscar player, I don’t think. It would require near-unanimous critical praise–which it won’t get–and massive box office–which seems unlikely. If it’s a player, it will probably mostly be for the techs and maybe the elliptically beautiful screenplay. I have a hard time seeing much of anything else. But I don’t really care. I’m glad this movie exists, and I hope the studio doesn’t f*** it up too much thanks to test screening results. This is a delicate thing, and even the slightest of changes could make it all fall apart. But for a certain type of filmgoer, this is going to be a real treat indeed, and a reminder that American film can still do ambitious as well as anybody else (just so long as it’s primarily financed by foreigners).
Touché. Until you can for see yourself, here are a few new images from the film featuring Jim Sturgess, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon, Halle Berry, Bae Doona and character actor Keith David (who we didn’t know was even in this thing). Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw and more round out the cast. “Cloud Atlas” opens on October 26th.