01 November 2012

Cloud Atlas (Wachowskis/Tykwer, 2012, USA)

I saw this movie again last night, this time at one of those fake IMAX things called "The IMAX Experience." We were kind of hesitant about driving out to the suburbs for what the internet said was a fake IMAX experience, but I have to say that at least in the case of the AMC Showplace Crossing in Skokie, Illinois, that it was worth the trip. The sound was a million times better than at the AMC in downtown Chicago and the picture also seemed appreciably superior. Plus there was free parking. Certainly it may be less convenient than taking the train downtown, but it was a fun adventure I might do again.

The things that bothered me the first time I saw it were mostly the Tom Hanks style acting that largely dominates the film, the too obvious makeup, and the confusing barrage of information. I characterize this Tom Hanks style of acting as generally uneven and over the top. Except in a handful of rare moments, Tom Hanks is always playing a caricature of himself as much as a late career Bette Davis. The first time around I felt the same way about Jim Broadbent. I actually found Jim Broadbent pretty likable this time around. Surprisingly, I also liked the hammy acting and the cheesy makeup this time around as well. It seemed to help in stressing the theme because the actors are almost always obvious in their roles, so you can see the way these archetypes fluctuate through time and so forth. I also found it less confusing the second time. There's so much information about the characters and events, it's really hard to process it on the first viewing, even as someone who had read the novel.

On the subject of the novel, of the many absurd criticisms I have seen of this film perhaps the most patently absurd is that the film lacks the depth of the novel. Because any sane person would walk into a three hour movie and expect to find the depth they found in a 600 page novel.
I'm also surprised by how many critics sneer at Lana Wachowski. It's no wonder their tastes are so bad, they all sound like a bunch of straight, white men, clinging to their 1970's glory days.

In any event, I liked it quite a lot, and I imagine I'll watch it several times more. I think it will be something of a cult hit, though I won't be surprised if it loses money. $100m on this type of film was a real gamble.


Click here for my original post on this film.

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