Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What-to-Watch Wednesday: Cloud Atlas (2012)

What-to-Watch Wednesday: Cloud Atlas (2012)

To: Scott
From: Steve
Re: You still haven't seen Cloud Atlas

Dude,

We've been best friends for almost fifteen years now.  In that time, we have shared some good times and bad times.  We've bitched, griped, and complained about the world around us.  Joked our way through some legendary conversations(if only in our own minds).  And we've advised each other through various trials and tribulations.

With all the interactions we've had as a result of our friendship, chief among them are the exchanges we have due to your stubborn refusal to watch Cloud Atlas even as I espouse again and again just how great a film it truly is.  While I say it is a grand epic that ties together six different stories spanning several centuries, you say three hours is way too long to have to watch a movie.  While I admire the blatant theatricality of having actors play several different roles as well as the themes and connections it implies, you say it sounds confusing and too many characters makes it hard to follow.  And, while I love the back and forth and crisscrossing of stories and timelines, you say you can already feel the headache coming on just thinking about it.

In a sense, you are right.  Cloud Atlas is a hard sell to most movie goers.  Why watch a film that requires that much time and attention when there is equally worthy yet far more digestible fare out there?  To be honest, I have no answer for that.  I only know that Cloud Atlas had me from Tom Hanks' opening monologue to the stunning extended montage-style ending.  I have watched it several times since I first saw it in the theater, and it just hasn't lost its power to move me.  The stories and their characters, the multitude of connections and thematic variations - it all feeds my desire for complexity and richness that I typically only encounter in literary texts.

Each time I watch it, I follow a different thread woven into the story.  One time I followed the path of the characters played by Tom Hanks and discovered the story of a soul slowly changing from villain to hero through the power of love.  There is also the recurring element of two souls finding each other again and again in different lifetimes, sometimes with a happy ending, sometimes not.  And, then you have the mystery of the comet-shaped birthmark.  What does it signify?  How are those that bear it linked together?

For me, there's a real power in this movie.  And, because of that, I get why people resist it or even outright hate it.

True, it's no Josie and the Pussycats, but, then again, what is?  Still...dude, at least watch the trailer. :)

Your friend,
Steve


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