Movies: Cloud Atlas

I like stories about karma and destiny, and especially about soul mates.

Cloud Atlas is kind of about those things.

Some would probably say it's a lot about those things, but I feel it was only really skimming.

With lots of makeup and a high production value, Cloud Atlas traces six main story lines from past, present and future, and using the same actors so as to give the sense of reincarnated lives meeting again and again. I mean, I assume that was the point. Or maybe they just didn't want to hire more cast. Because that would get really expensive.

And because there are so many stories being told, the film is also really long, clocking in at nearly three hours. But I found myself interested enough not to get restless; I barely even fiddled with my iPhone, which is saying something in this day and age. The film was well edited and paced so as not to drag, despite its length.

The makeup did get a little distracting, but I still felt they did a good job with it. Of course, one can always spot Hugo Weaving; it's his mouth that gives him away.

Like anything with a lot of different stories, some here were more interesting to me than others, but then one might be able to say there is something here for everyone. The marriage of Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis is visually interesting and densely thematic. Hefty, even, in that it begins to lean toward preachy by the end. And yet isn't so much so that it becomes obnoxious. Maybe because they are preaching to the choir. I mean, is anyone really going to argue that slavery (of one kind or another) is a good choice? Or that might makes right? If they do, they have bigger problems than disagreeing with this movie.

One could parse Cloud Atlas any number of ways, and I'm sure many a student has written a lengthy essay about (as mentioned above) forms of slavery in the film (or book, though I haven't read it), and the ways characters fight for their freedoms and against various controls. Maybe they've written about star-crossed lovers. Or the ways karma comes round to bite you in the ass again and again until you learn your lesson.

Or maybe no one ever learns their lessons. But that's too depressing, surely, to consider.

In short, I enjoyed it. Though it was long, and in places overwrought and maybe a tad too on-the-nose with its message, I was engaged throughout, and that to me is the mark of a good movie.

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