Finally got around to seeing Cloud Atlas last week and frankly, I’ve been speechless since or I would have posted sooner. The film is not without some flaws, but by golly the concept alone is breathtaking. The execution left my head spinning.
I can see why this did not do well in theaters. We are not ready! For starters. reincarnation alone is something that, when brought to the big screen without introduction, can seem even more daunting and perplexing than we usually give it credit for (those of us who spend time thinking about reincarnation that is).
Back to Cloud Atlas, in addition to the novelty of following souls along their journeys of existence, the tactic of cinematically weaving all of the stories together and cutting back and forth in such a dizzying fashion left me confused for the first two hours. We can’t handle this yet. (Maybe you can, dear reader, but my head nearly exploded trying to keep up.) In retrospect, I absolutely loved the way we often got a scene from the usual perspective of one of the characters, but when cutting to the other character, we end up suddenly in a different time and place. Same two souls carrying out their spiritual transactions, but the context is suddenly different. We are looking at the opposite character, as we expected, but they are not the same person that was across from the character we just cut from – not the same character, yet the same soul. Genius, I say, but, especially if, like me, you went in without knowing the score, completely baffling and confusing. Now play along these lines for three hours and you have the greatest idea in all of cinematography, if you ask me (which no one ever does, but why should that stop me from sharing with you, my gentle readers?)
I could go on, but really, just watch it if you haven’t already. And if you have, go watch it again – you know you need to. You didn’t catch half of what happened. I know I still haven’t.