Cloud Atlas" split the critics and was nominated both for several "Best" and "Worst" film lists. To praise the movie runs the risk of describing "delicious," which no one can do. To damn it runs the risk of carping like some thin-gruel Republican who is so bereft of ideas that he can only attack someone else's.
I think "Cloud Atlas" is probably the best movie I have seen in 20 or more years ... but I'm not sure. I do know that it lingers amorphously in my mind after watching it last night. Trying to say what I remember and why I liked it is ... somehow weird. The effect is something like entering a room where the incense has burned out: Something is there but where or what it is defies description.
I do know: 1. That the only reason I know the movie was long is that I realized my ass hurt after I got up. Most long movies are long because their creators do not have an honest handle on their material and the best they can do is win Oscars. "Cloud Atlas" held my attention even if I couldn't say exactly what I was attending to. 2. It was visually pleasing. 3. It had the kind of balls that movie makers seldom bring to their works ... a daring of imagination and conception that makes me think I will not watch another movie soon because to do so would leave the new movie paling by imaginative contrast... "another Oscar winner: how drab." 3. That the movie dared to attempt life as it really is without any particular fuss or fireworks ... the places where magic intersects with whatever is not magic; the interconnectedness of all things before any smarm-master got his hands on "the interconnectedness of all things." 4. That I felt as if I were floating in a slow-moving stream of chocolate mousse: Time and sequence were of no consequence ... it was just floating and everywhere was delicious. 5. That the movie was good enough so that saying it had stars (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry) made exactly zero's worth of difference. 6. That the movie was not perfectly-realized in all of its segments, but that simply did not matter. 7. That I will probably buy the movie, assuming it is not too wildly expensive. And when it comes, I will put it on the shelf next to "Brazil," not because "Cloud Atlas" is as darkly apt as "Brazil," but because "Cloud Atlas" has a courage of imagination that is similar.
Maybe, as I know I will, I should watch the movie again. Then, perhaps, I'll have something more coherent to say.