Analyzing Cloud Atlas (The Movie)
- Part One: Which camp do you belong? [Introduction]
- Part Two: Do you want the “true-true”? [Plot, Theme & Quotes]
- Part Three: Do you want to be “mind-raped”? [Flaws that outweigh the experience]
- Cloud Atlas—Why do you like it? What does it mean? [Common Praise]
- Cloud Atlas—Visual elements, editing and core message of the film.
- Conclusion and Movie Review
Cloud Atlas will divide audiences into three camps. You will:
1) like it for what appears to be profundity
2) dislike it for what appears to be complexity
3) dislike it for what appears to be intellectual dishonesty
Just to be clear, its filmmakers have rebutted those belonging to the second camp with these reactions:
And you feel it in a lot of critics’ approach today toward cinema. As soon as they encounter a piece of art they don’t fully understand the first time going through it, they think it’s the fault of the movie or the work of art. They think, [dramatic voice] “It’s a mess.
This doesn’t make any sense.” And they reject it, just out of an almost knee-jerk response to some ambiguity or some gulf between what they expect they should be able to understand, and what they understand.
But such arguments cannot be further from the truth because this film, is not as intellectually abstract as some imagine it to be.
First off, I haven’t actually read the novel so these snippets just serve to flesh out my thoughts [I won’t even use the word “discourse” because that would just be me either: masturbating to pseudo-intellectualism or dignifying mediocrity.] about the method of delivery in cinematic form, and not David Mitchell’s interpretation. The novel must be reviewed separately because 1) the recording arts (cinema) must be differentiated from representational arts (literature) by virtue of medium and 2) I haven’t read it.
Meaning of the Title
My initial reaction to the title “Cloud Atlas” is associate it with Titan of Greek mythology; Atlas—a well known reference made by philosopher and founder of Objectivism, Ayn Rand— author of novel (and her magnum opus) Atlas Shrugged.
Atlas’s punishment for siding with the Titans during their war with the Olympians—who subsequently won—was bear the weight of the world / earth / globe on his shoulders. Okay, so far so good.
But as far as the word “Cloud” is concerned, I’m completely lost. But hey I’m no literature or liberal arts major, just an average film buff. So when author David Mitchell said the theme of his novel is predacity, I am buying it.
Literally all of the main characters, except one, are reincarnations of the same soul in different bodies throughout the novel identified by a birthmark…that’s just a symbol really of the universality of human nature. The title itself “Cloud Atlas,” the cloud refers to the ever changing manifestations of the Atlas, which is the fixed human nature which is always thus and ever shall be. So the book’s theme is predacity, the way individuals prey on individuals, groups on groups, nations on nations, tribes on tribes. So I just take this theme and in a sense reincarnate that theme in another context…
But never mind the author now. I am cynical about the fatuous hype behind this film, and this is my blog so I am going to whine a little about it.