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Cloud Atlas infographic seeks to unbraid the plotlines

Micah J Gordon at Moviefanatic has made an interesting attempt to match recurring patterns in each of the six storylines and slot 18 of the characters into 3 sets of archetypes. Ordinarily I’d resist efforts to reduce the movie’s formula of challenging complexity to a handfuls of common denominators, but there’s a lot of merit in the pathways he’s found through this maze. As long as we don’t stop hearing the melody of Sextet while we try to pin down each note. As long as we remember the way art and music is meant to tease our brains with repetition, variation, repetition, variation — and then the all important surprises that break the repetitive patterns apart. Personally, I think there are are least two more archetypes per storyline missing from this chart, but I’m sure Micah always intended this graphic to be a single key to the many locks on these doors. He proposes an interesting theory about the birthmark too.

The Struggler in each story has a comet-shaped birthmark, which some have suggested indicates that all of these characters are reincarnations of the same “soul.” Others have suggested that the common actors signifies some kind of spiritual connectivity. In reality, the interconnectivity of the characters has nothing to do with the actors playing them (though Weaving and Hugh Grant are pretty much only jerks).

The birthmark signifies a shared lust for freedom–a “birthright” to advance civilization, if you will–with all six stories paralleling each other pretty tightly (which is perhaps why the 45-minute climax was so utterly taxing). While some element of each plotline carried over to influence the next (Sixsmith, The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish, the Sonmi statue, etc.), ultimately the film does little to reinforce the theory that souls are being recycled.

Check out the infographic after the cut.