Because I am trying to avoid being constantly mired in political mockery, I'm trying to be appreciative of artistic things (or, if I can't get appreciative, I can enjoy eviscerating them as a large dog enjoys destroying a toy made for a much smaller dog). Today, I was in need of entertainment--Netflix, random-setting (i.e. spouse's choice) came up Cloud Atlas.
At a bit under three hours and with a promise of intersecting storylines crossing centuries, I was a little alarmed. This could be barking gibberish to a late-Friday brain ready for something a little less deep, and since I don't pay attention to popular culture except a little bit, wasn't there supposed to be something not right abou..aw fuggit, I finally decided, with true acceptance. I was going to just enjoy the ride.
Which paid off. Look, you should understand that you have a brilliant cast of people playing multiple roles across time--the advertising for the movie clues you in on the premise, and if you don't accept the premise--don't see the movie. I'm sure there's a Steven Seagal movie for you to see. He even does accents. He's like, the Meryl Streep of direct-to-video action movies. He's even done some sf. Go see those. This isn't a put-down of Steven Seagal movies, since I'm apparently watching them--this is a judgment about you. You get in the right space to see Cloud Atlas, and you will see it the way I did--PMS-y and a little teary and loving all the touches.
Now, there are some weak spots--Tom Hanks is a brilliant actor, but can not actually keep what I think was supposed to be an Irish accent to save his life. He plays one character in a way that veers from London to Dublin accent-wise in a way I'm not sure how to entirely accept-- but luckily, that particular character is not pervasive. And his performance in several other roles is amazing.
Halle Berry--I love her in this. I love her as Luisa Rey and Meronym. I love Hugo Weaving for once again being the Agent Smith-style heavy in most of his roles in the flick, as he was in the Wachowskis' Matrix Trilogy. He does great menace. I am astounded by Hugh Grant just being in there in character roles in a not-Notting Hill way, but in a ballsy "have fun being characters" way. OMG--Jim Sturgess and Doona Bae--there was fine work here. Ben Whishaw? Keith David? I just want to shout the whole cast out as stupidly good in a storyline that veers from scene to scene in a disjointed timeline to try and demonstrate how good deeds and bad follow people beyond their own lifetime.
But it is beautiful. It's about deciding people matter. It's about looking beyond yourself, and seeing the other, and knowing this is also you.
I just found it beautiful..