Liberal brainwashing. That’s what conservative critics are likely to call this epic from the Wachowski siblings and Tom Twyker. And it’s true that every act of ideology will work to hide its own workings, as is often the case when it is juxtaposed with some good vs evil battle (as literally happens here). Likewise, parallels that are drawn in Cloud Atlas between historical, present and theoretical struggles are not nearly as intellectual as they could and should be to be truly conscientious.
With that said, a lot of what Cloud Atlas has to say is in my worldview fundamental truth. Sharing concerns with and probably inspired by the works of Alan Moore, the Wachowski’s succeed in what they tried to say with their V for Vendetta adap. It is more unified and skilfully told than the Matrix trilogy. Among them the directors have made some fine movies – this is the best. A stunning, bold, unconventional rarity, I haven’t seen a more culturally valuable film since Sucker Punch. It is a work full of love, and I am full of love for it.
Intercut between different timelines that curiously involve iterations of the same people, I had doubts the conclusion would satisfy the mystery. I was wrong. One caveat to the masterwork is the karmic rebirth device which seems to present characters with a base consistency which sits rather uneasily with social constructivism. Better to think of the reoccurences as representations of others who are (how shall we say it) connected. Or better yet as facets of the perennial protagonist, the hero of a thousand faces, who sits within our culture and, yes, our ideology.