Why I'm Digging 'Cloud Atlas'

I knew it had the potential to be messy in some parts. I knew some of the makeup was going to be questionable. But after sitting through 3 hours of Cloud Atlas, a movie I had been anticipating ever since I laid my eyes on that oversized, M83-fueled trailer, I feel satisfied, appreciative, impressed, and grateful.

Grateful for Hollywood allowing this production to happen. Impressed that there are filmmakers who can lure big names to a risky, big-concept film. Appreciative of a movie that can speak to my emotions by daring to explore the very abstract concept of an afterlife, of human connectivity, of past lives, and of a journey one soul can take through time and space. Satisfied that a film has tapped into our collective subconscious in an attempt to explain the metaphysics of our world.

The multiple role-playing in Cloud Atlas, while a great and exciting challenge for all of the actors involved, isn't gimmicky at all. The pacing is sharp and crackling, weaving the six stories together within the epic runtime (Believe it or not, I could've watched more). Needless to say, a repeat viewing is in order; there's bound to be more that can be discovered within its intricate narrative. While there are many philosophical nuggets embedded in each story, none of them feel heavy-handed.

I'm still debating whether or not this film will be slotted in my Top 10 list of 2012, but right now I can't shake it. The score is exquisite and haunting. The set pieces are impressive. And it is a mess...but it's a mesmerizing mess, a giant puzzle that admirably mashes up genres and ties them beautifully together. If you're one of those moviegoers who doesn't want to be bothered with a film that challenges you and requires you to use your brain, then by all means, buy your tickets in advance for the final Twilight flick.

My filmmaker friend, David Kittredge may have put it best:

CLOUD ATLAS is visionary, varsity-level Cinema with a capital C that aims for the profound and hits more often than not. You can quibble, but it's smart, passionate and at times even transcendent. It not only values the viewer's intelligence, it requests active participation. I really loved it. If you're interested in supporting cinema that's risky, smart, personal and unbelievably audacious, get off your butt and buy a ticket this weekend. See it on the big screen - you won't be sorry.



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