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I recently saw a list of ambitious 2012 movie failures somewhere, cannot quite remember where that was. I was surprised, very surprised, that Cloud Atlas was not on the list. This film gives all the “Prometheus”-es, and “Dark Knight Rises”-es a run for their money. It is hyperbolic to almost a comic degree, aiming at running the audience through  a couple of thousand years in a mere two and a half hours. It is said that the book on which the film is based is utterly complex, demanding the utmost efforts on part of the reader to follow the web of connections through various plot threads. The film, as it turns out, is nothing like that. There are six films, if my memory serves me right, and what is surprising is how straightforwardly they have been edited together. Sometimes each bit is only on-screen for some moments, but there is no way to confuse where you are and what that bit of story is about. This is a problem. The film pretends to be complex and ambitious, but matter-of-fact, it is not. It is quite simple, actually, meaning the stories we see are not very demanding, some of them are not even very interesting. A composer who creates the eternal masterpiece and is subjected to his master’s jeaoulsy, check! A publisher who is submitted by his brother to a nursing home and plans his escape, check! Halle Berry clad in tight coveralls, check! (really does not matter much what she’s doing as long as she is wearing those…). And so on. Some of these stories could have become nice movies, some comedies (elderly refugees rescued by Scottish rugby supporters), some even Summer blockbusters (clone becomes the voice of the counterrevolution). We have seen all these movies, but never mind, production design and special effects make it worth doing it over and over again. But merging all that into one movie is a bit sad if this merger process does not add anything. What does it add? The sentence that all is connected, and that whoever messes with the Greater Flow of Things ends up being not a lucky person.

I have to stress that I did not mind the film, watched with interest what the hell these guys were doing, but at some point I realised that this was really more curiosity than immersion, and I could not help but frequently checking the clock to see how much time is left until the end of times…

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/cloud_atlas_2012/

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