Review: Cloud Atlas

I wanted to make sure that I caught Cloud Atlas while it was in theaters, so that meant that I pretty much had to go this week. Between the 23 local screens, only 1 is still showing it and that only for three showings per day. I give it until the end of the week, maybe next week at tops before it’s gone.

And honestly, after seeing it, I’m not that surprised. Don’t get me wrong, it was as really interesting movie. But at nearly three hours, it was longer than it really had to be and there were significant parts of the movie where it just seemed to really drag on.

That being said, I really liked how there were all of these distinct story lines all going on at the same time, with ties between each of them (a journal written in one is the character in another, the main character in one is revered as a god-like figure in another). I’m personally a fan of weaving together multiple story lines as you may have noticed if you’ve been following my entry into NaNoWriMo this year. Yet in this case, there was nothing so direct as to cleanly tie them all together, which I think was one of the film’s greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses. People going into it expecting to get some deep tie between all six are likely to be disappointed.

Another thing that really intrigued me was how they blurred the lines between just what characters could play which parts. There were a number of parts with women playing men, men playing women, and one ethnicity playing another (I’ll admit that I only caught half of them–if this movie doesn’t win the Oscan for Best Makeup, I’ll be amazed). It really makes you think about how often we put these arbitrary dividing lines down between one another when really, we’re all people first and foremost. I think that Lana Wachowski definitely had some input into that and it turned out really well.

Overall, it’s a solid film, but I wouldn’t even put it up as my favorite Wachowski film (that goes squarely to the Matrix and it’s sequels; believe it or not, I actually quite enjoyed all three) so it definitely won’t get a top spot for the year, but it comes in at a completely respectable 10th place, breaking into the top half. Still, I’m glad that I saw it. It’s the sort of film that makes you think.