Warner Bros. and its ‘Music City Miracle’

6 11 2012

By Kleinz 57

When you say it out loud, Cloud Atlas’ central idea — that we are all somehow connected through actions, events, and emotions across time — sounds like a ludicrous shaggy dog story or it evokes the same hippie BS that bearded, dread-ed social warts picket about inside the Madison rotunda right this second. I feel dirty and idealistic just typing it. But that’s what Lana & Andy Wachowksi have teamed up with Tom Tykwer to do. And Sweet Mother of Eugene V. Debs do they pull it off.

How did this get made? Warner Brothers may have chucked the biggest ‘fuck it’ pass in the history of filmmaking with this one. Forget the numerous cries that David Mitchell’s mammoth novel was practically ‘unfilmable.’ You’ve got multiple storylines; Actors playing two, three or (in Tom Hanks’ case) eight characters at once; Weird futurist time scales; Mars colonies; Jilted gay love affairs; Agent Smith as an old woman. Tykwer and the Wachowskis graft that flower child philosophy of we’re all like one soul living together maaan onto a metaphor, specifically the fictional ‘Cloud Atlas Sextet’ piece. The (at times very obvious) analogy being drawn is that the course of our lives can behave very much like a piece of music, and while “life is a symphony” probably belongs on a tramp stamp or at least stitched on an Ed Hardy shirt, it’s hard not to admire a film that so proudly wears this on its sleeve. Not to mention if this doesn’t win Best Original Score I’ma curb stomp some old white folk. BUT SERIOUSLY HOW DID THIS MOVIE GET MADE?

The more important, less infuriating question is ‘Why does Cloud Atlas work?’ The short answer is the editing, or more appropriately, the acid-laced, crotch-flaming juggling act Tykwer and the Wachowskis pull off. It’s not always perfect; you can definitely see some of the seams out of the gate, and Cloud Atlas’ first opening minutes take some getting used to. You wanted to learn more about our intrepid homosexual composer? Sorry, bru but you’ll have to wait until space Halle Berry helps Tom Hanks kill nuclear fallout savages first! That sounds exaggerated, but it can be very close to the truth. Thankfully, this is seven total minutes out of a nearly three hour movie, and the deftness of knowing which plot threads to turn to (and when to do so) is a real testament to the filmmaker trio. To put this into context: buy six 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles, dump ’em together and then show me the best parts of each completed picture all within a single finished product. Or you know, just kill yourself now.

From the moment I watched its pretentious five minute YouTube trailer, I really wanted to hate this. Who do these pompous twad pockets think they are?! This is Hollywood, not some Art History field trip. But like that lateral to Kevin Dyson, Cloud Atlas has the sack to try something so crazy and then the skill to actually pull dat shit off. It doesn’t preach, and for a concept that’s so rocky and awkward, it goes down as smooth as silk — I’m still sloppy wasted off it right now. Cloud Atlas inspires you to leave the theater a better person. Or in my case, kindly wait for the old woman to lurch through the crosswalk. Good enough.

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