November 11, 2013

Six readers reading

Cloud Atlas (Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, 2012). The one about the Korean clone could have been a movie by itself. So could the one about the 1930s composer who commits suicide. The other four stories in this adaptation of the David Mitchell novel – filmable, after all! – are too generic in narrative shape and conception to be useful as anything other than padding or to illustrate the greater point about … what is it about, again? Connectedness, similarities, recurrence, reincarnation, that sort of thing. Sci-fi mysticism. From memory, to be generic was kind of Mitchell’s point – the ingenuity was in how the stories were relayed or transferred (someone reading a journal writes letters, and so on) rather than what was told within them. We were readers reading other readers. A film can’t do that, but it can do something that books can’t – it can offer six stretches of time happening at once.