Monday, October 29, 2012

Cloud Atlas

"Cloud Atlas" is a love-it-or-hate-it movie for which the up-the-middle rating of 2.5 stars seems just right. It's one of the most structurally complex films of the year, but the Wachowskis juggle the narratives so well it's amazingly easy to follow. (You can even go out for popcorn and come back without losing your place.) It's eight minutes shy of three hours, but rarely boring. It spans continents and millennia, but lacks long-term resonance. In any fifteen minutes, you may see thousands of human bodies hanging in a futuristic slaughterhouse, followed by a chase scene out of a 70s blaxploitation picture, followed by Jim Broadbent in a farcical situation out of Monty Python. I've never seen a movie lurch so wildly in tone from moment to moment, and I liked that about it. "Cloud Atlas" only occasionally achieves its grandest aspirations, but we need more movies with its audacity and scope.

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