I made a choice last night to see Silver Linings Playbook rather than the 172-minute Cloud Atlas, as they were more or less screening against each other, and to judge from reviews so far it seems that I went with the more satisfying film. But I love the Cloud Atlas review by Variety‘s Peter Debruge, and this portion in particular:

“An intense three-hour mental workout rewarded with a big emotional payoff, “Cloud Atlas” suggests that all human experience is connected in the pursuit of freedom, art and love. As inventive narratives go, there’s outside the box, and then there’s pioneering another dimension entirely, and this massive, independently financed collaboration among Tom Tykwer and Wachowski siblings Lana and Andy courageously attempts the latter, interlacing six seemingly unrelated stories in such a way that parallels erupt like cherry bombs.”

And this: “No less exciting is the way Cloud Atlas challenges its actors to portray characters outside their race or gender. [Costar] Hugo Weaving plays villains in nearly every age, ranging from a heartless Korean consumerist to a Nurse Ratched-like ward master. Indeed, the filmmakers put the lie to the notion that casting — an inherently discriminatory art — cannot be adapted to a more enlightened standard of performance over mere appearance, reminding us why the craft is rightfully called ‘acting.'”