Soundtrack Review: Cloud Atlas (2012)

Soundtrack Review: Cloud Atlas (2012)

Cloud Atlas Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score Cloud Atlas by Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil and Tom Tykwer.

“It is just as good as I expected it to be.”

Cloud Atlas is an exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution. It’s directed by Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski. The film stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Hugh Grant. The score is composed by Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil and Tom Tykwer.

Track List

1. Prelude – The Atlas March 80
2. Cloud Atlas Opening Title 80
3. Travel To Edinburgh 80
4. Luisa’s Birthmark 60
5. Cavendish In Distress 100
6. Papa Song 60
7. Sloosha’s Hollow 80
8. Sonmi-451 Meets Change 80
9. Won’t Let Go 100
10. Kesselring 80
11. The Escape 100
12. Temple Of Sacrifice 80
13. Catacombs 60
14. Adieu 80
15. New Direction 80
16. All Boundaries Are Conventions 100
17. The Message 80
18. Chasing Luisa Rey 80
19. Sonmi’s Discovery 60
20. Death Is Only A Door 100
21. Cloud Atlas Finale 100
22. The Cloud Atlas Sextet For Orchestra 80
23. Cloud Atlas End Title 100

Cloud Atlas is epic, well the trailer is. The film? It depends on your definition of it of course. The score however is epic at times, but it’s not its epic-ness I like about this score, but there are other far more interesting factors. The trio Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil and Tom Tykwer is doing something a little different than I have heard from them before, which is a good thing in my opinion.

The score feels fresh, it’s not something I could listen to and immediately recognise that I have heard before with a couple of exceptions like the main theme. ‘Cavendish In Distress’ for example is a great cue, but it sounds like one of Danny Elfman’s Pee Wee scores. There are other cues which I enjoy for other things such as ‘Won’t Let Go’ that feels epic at times. It’s a very fast-paced cue, but it never goes off the rails. The main theme heard in ‘Prelude – The Atlas March’ is good, and I’m glad they got to expand on it to create a wonderful cue in ‘All Boundaries Are Conventions’ and also ‘Cloud Atlas End Title’.


Does Cloud Atlas, the film score, fail like the film itself? In my opinion, no it doesn’t. It is just as good as I expected it to be. It surprised me a little bit having heard a lot of scores from Klimek, Heil and Tykwer, but in a good way. Other than that I am happy with what I have heard here.


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GD Star Rating
Soundtrack Review: Cloud Atlas (2012), 9.3 out of 10 based on 30 ratings


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  • Jeremiah Pena

    I thought this was the best score of the year for the best film of the year.

    • Humberto Adan Herrera Cosio

      Let’s hope it wins awards, especially Oscars.l But I highly doubt it these days, not politically relevant. Lincoln will take everything. Which is unfair.

      • Jørn Tillnes

        Hmm I don’t think Cloud Atlas has a chance based on the Box Office numbers. It bombed unfortunately which is a shame. It all looked so promising.

  • Benjamin Ling

    Best score for me this year too. I can picture the main theme being rehashed for future trailers much like Requiem for a Dream.

    • Jørn Tillnes

      This score works for me, but I was expecting a lot more. Unfortunately it didn’t come close to being in competition for the best score of the year for me.

      • Benjamin Ling

        This year’s somewhat of a vacuum for memorable film soundtracks. Video Games, now that’s where it’s at!

        • Jørn Tillnes

          Well, it’s been a pretty good year for Film, TV and Game music in my opinion, but perhaps extra good for games. Some amazing scores that has come out this year.

      • Benjamin Ling

        By the way, any plans to review Tykwer/Klimek/Heil’s “Perfume: Story of a Murderer” soundtrack? Even how much I like Cloud Atlas, I like Perfume even more. Highly recommended, one of my favorite soundtracks of all time.

        • Jørn Tillnes

          Hmm, might do if there’s time. I’ve been pretty pre-occupied reviewing new scores so if I do get the time to do an older score that would be great.

          • Benjamin Ling

            An awesome score under the radar. Please do!

  • Stephen Noell

    It was a bit hard to get into, since the first 5 or 6 tracks are a bit boring, but once it gets going near the end, it gets pretty good. Overall, a pretty good score, worth listening to over again.

    • Stephen Noell

      After reading a synopsis of the movie and listening to the score again, I have to say it reminds me a lot, in terms of concepts and overall mood, of The Fountain. Music isn’t quite as good, but it seems very similar overall.

  • jewen07

    The piano sounds like our life fighting against time.
    Not a masterpiece because generally not all tracks are fine but contains some moments of music glory.