If you didn’t see this movie on the big screen, you missed out. If you missed it entirely, you fucked up. And if you were one of those who called it “the worst movie of the year” (whoever Mary Pols at Time magazine is; stupid stupid Peter Travers) – God help you. When this movie comes to be seen as a lost classic in a few years, you may wish you weren’t so nasty.
I won’t be gloating though. I choose the avenue of love. This movie encouraged me to be that way. This movie is about a lot of things I may or may not believe in – fate, true love, reincarnation of sorts – and it made me believe – strongly – in them all. That’s the power of love, son. That’s the power of cinema. And I was skeptical too. I’ve always liked the Wachowskis but I’m not as high on THE MATRIX as so many are (although, weirdly, I liked the sequels better than most), and I haven’t seen a Tom Tykwer move that really resonated with me since RUN LOLA RUN. Most of all, without having read David Mitchell’s original novel it was hard to tell in advance what the hell this movie was going to be about. Answer: It’s kinda about everything.
It’s a 19th-century nautical drama involving slavery and other human cruelties.
It’s a period piece about the creation of classical music and an impossible romance.
It’s a 1970s political thriller about an intrepid reporter (co-starring THE THING‘s Keith David as SHAFT‘s Shaft!).
It’s a whimsical farce about an attempted escape from a nursing home.
It’s a science-fiction anime action-movie love-story.
It’s a post-apocalyptic future-tropical tribal-warfare-slash-horror-movie that turns into a campfire fable.
It’s like no other movie I’ve ever seen before, which for the record is exactly why I go to the movies: To see things I haven’t seen before. The performances are surprising and exhilarating, the score is clever and moving, the cinematography is colorful and absorbing, the scope is bold and ambitious. Does it matter too much that some of the storylines are more affecting than others? You think I care about anybody’s stupid little quibbles over some of the makeup effects? This is a movie that shoots for the moon and more than once hits the stars. This movie didn’t just surprise me with what it is – it surprised me about ME. It’s sad that more people haven’t embraced it yet, but believe me, I’m happier loving this movie than you are disregarding or ignoring it. Feel free to come over to this side anytime!
I wrote this for Daily Grindhouse and reposted it here because CLOUD ATLAS is out on DVD & Blu-Ray today. Now’s your chance to remedy the mistakes of the past…