Monday, June 24, 2019

Cloud Atlas (2012) directed by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer

I thought Cloud Atlas the book was unfilmable. I was wrong. I’ve read either 2 or 3 times, and one of the things I loved about it  was the embedded structure. The front half of several novellas then a whole, then the back half of those novellas. Each in a different style and each read or consumed in some way in the next. While it isn’t a didactic book in any way, it does, among other things, make a strong argument against nihilism by showing how people are interconnected.

The movie seizes on  and amplifies this interconnection themes. The Wachowskis keep the bit about each account being read or consumed in some manner in the next. But, as a film they had to alternate between the various threads rather than embed them completely. They managed to create forward momentum and keep it going and minimize the potential confusion. The three hour run time blew by.

The race swapping makeup in the various timelines was a controversy at the time, and since I thought it wouldn’t work anyway, I had avoided it for years. That makeup is cringey, and a misstep. But that is the only caveat I have for the movie.

This has surpassed The Matrix as my favorite of the Wachowskis’ work (I still need to see Jupiter Ascending, despite the hate directed towards it)to be completist. This is one I will return to again and again, I think.


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