YI JIAN’s review published on Letterboxd:
Six intertwined stories, bridged together by a comet shaped birthmark and the epitome of spiritual uplift known as The Cloud Atlas Sextet. Imagine the weight and difficulty of the task to compose something described as the embodiment of Scriabin's echoes, Stravinsky's footprints, Debussy's chromatics, and, let us not forget, a waking dream. Only a madman would attempt such madness, but all geniuses were often considered mad at some point in their lives, and the world is only this wonderful thanks to the contributions of these mad people with their crazy ideas like frying potato slices to a crisp, adapting unadaptable novels or composing uncomposable music. As I listen to the soundtrack on repeat while I type away on my keyboard, I picture drops of sweat crawling down Tom Tykwer's forehead. I picture his lips arcing upwards on the right side as he put down the last note on the music sheet. I picture Ben Whishaw's disheveled hair, in what I consider to be the most powerful and brilliant story among the six. The end result may have sounded a bit more Debussy than the other two, but nevertheless, I still think it perfectly captures (if not redefine) what David Mitchell had in mind when he wrote the book. My sincerest respect to the three artists involved in the making of this magnificent piece of art, thank you for gracing my ears with your beautiful work and making my early morning bus rides interesting.
Proposition: I have fallen in love.
This film is no doubt a masterpiece and should be studied by anyone with even the slightest interest in films. Everything is top notch, especially in the make-up, editing and visual effects department. I can throw marble plates with Ben Whishaw all day, I can marvel at the scenery of Neo Seoul all night. Cloud Atlas will always be, for me, the Wachowski siblings' magnum opus. And that's the true-true.