It all does come together by the end, eventually, but the first hour or so is very messy. It's not too complicated plot-wise, but there are too many stories running at once, and personally I've lost track of who is whose reincarnation a few times simply because I couldn't recognize an actor under often inventive, but occasionally plain creepy makeup. I think this movie would have done way better if each story was given just a little bit more time to develop before the jump onto the next one.
It is an interesting sci fi, but it's not a masterpiece. Shame it ended with a complete fiasco at the box office - it might take a while for another independent movie with such scale and budget to appear. And you know what, maybe it's not such a bad thing. Big studios know by now how to make a movie marketable. There are flops of course, but for the most part 100+ million projects get their money back and then some.
Sure, they might not be that complex and ideologically ambitious, but they sell. And that's the most important part of this business. Or any business. When you shoot a movie with numerous investors, 3 directors, complicated (by Hollywood standards) plot, one of those things has a very big chance to bite you in the ass. And maybe all three.
I enjoyed this independent experiment, it was a fun ride, but I really think they overdid it with makeup. I'm all for the idea that previous actions in previous life modify your further versions, but how am I supposed to track that moral progress or regress if the final version of a character looks like this:
That's Hugh Grant by the way. And believe me, he is very recognizable in earlier versions.
The verdict? Worth a watch, but be prepared to be equally amazed, puzzled and disappointed.
Performance reviews and grade changes:
Image: Warner Bros. Pictures