Cloud Atlas: Time Enough For Love

by Ethan Alter October 26, 2012 6:00 am
<i>Cloud Atlas</i>: Time Enough For Love

Too many cinematic adaptations of popular novels make the mistake of trying to replicate the book almost word-for-word onscreen, either due to a failure of imagination on behalf of the filmmakers or out of fear that story's fans will reject even the slightest change. (A fear that's not entirely off-base, by the way; for example, a sizeable chunk of Harry Potter fans still haven't forgiven Alfonso Cuarón for the liberties he took in the film version of The Prisoner of Azkaban.) But you can't accuse the formidable filmmaking trio of Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski of playing it safe with their adaptation of David Mitchell's gem of a novel, Cloud Atlas. While the movie is recognizably the book that Mitchell wrote, the writer/directors have shaped and molded the text in a way that reflects their own specific interests and sensibilities. Both the film's greatest strength -- as well as, ultimately, one of its weaknesses -- is that it's a true act of interpretation, not simply recitation.

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