Despite seeing a movie or so a week, there are definitely many I miss throughout the year, even ones I had originally planned to see that somehow just slip through the cracks. One of them was Cloud Atlas, a collaboration between the Wachowski brothers and Run Lola Run’s Tom Tykwer that I just couldn’t seem to find three hours for.
I recently managed to sit down and watch it, and was pleasantly surprised by a film I found to be actually quite moving and profound. The problem is, it takes a while to get there. The story shifts between six narratives from a large range of time periods. There’s a traveling lawyer in the 1800s, a composer in the 1930s, a reporter in the 1970s, a publisherin 2012, a slave-clone in 2140 and a tribal post-apocalyptic tribe a few hundred years after that. The idea is that people endure over time, living multiple lives, and many of the same actors appear across the timelines in their past and future bodies. Tom Hanks, for example, appears in nearly all the timelines.
I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the film at first. It dragged quite a bit and it was jarring to flip back and forth between so many stories every 2-4 minutes for three hours. They really didn’t seem to be all that connected, other than the actors, though you start to figure out the films major themes near the end. The movie ends up being about a mix of love and fighting the established order of things, and though disconnected, it’s a common thread that does run through all the stories.
It wasn’t until the last hour, but I did end up loving the film, and it likely would have made my top ten list had I seen it earlier. The film did quite poorly at the box office, as it couldn’t manage to explain what it was about in the first two hours of the movie, much less a two minute trailer. I’m wondering who else saw it, and what everybody thought of it.