Ambitious idea... but you need patience
All you need to know about this week's top new movie Cloud Atlas
WHO STARS IN IT?
Doona Bae, Halle Berry, James D'Arcy, Hugh Grant, Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Zhou Xun, David Gyasi.
WHO DIRECTS IT?
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Directors: Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski, (The Matrix trilogy, V For Vendetta, Speed Racer) and Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run).
WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?
Big has always been beautiful to Lana and Andy Wachowski, writer-directors of the Matrix trilogy. Bold ambition shimmers in every frame of Cloud Atlas – the siblings' chronologically fractured adaptation of David Mitchell's novel, co-directed by Tom Tykwer.
The multi-layered narrative ricochets between several time frames in which a star-studded cast adopt myriad guises with the aid of prosthetics. Like the book, the film requires a certain amount of patience as the script sets various plot wheels in motion.
WHAT IS THE PLOT?
In 1849, lawyer Adam Ewing (Sturgess) discovers a slave called Autua (David Gyasi) stowed aboard a ship bound for America from the Chatham Islands.
In 1936 Cambridge, musician Robert Frobisher (Whishaw) bids farewell to his lover Rufus Sixsmith (D'Arcy) and heads to Edinburgh to work alongside famous composer Vyvyan Ayrs (Broadbent). Here, Frobisher composes his celebrated Cloud Atlas Sextet.
In 1973 California, crusading journalist Luisa Rey (Berry) meets an ageing Rufus in a lift, and is drawn into a deadly mystery.
In present-day London, 65-year-old publisher Timothy Cavendish (Broadbent) falls victim to a vicious prank and becomes trapped in a care home run by the sadistic Nurse Noakes (Weaving).
In 2144, in the city of Neo Seoul, genetically engineered fast-food worker Sonmi-451 (Doona Bae) escapes the bonds of servitude and goes on the run.
In 2321, Zachry (Hanks) agrees to help technologically advanced visitor Meronym (Berry) head into the mountains to find the Cloud Atlas communication station.
In the far future, these stories gradually knit together...
IS IT ANY GOOD?
Cloud Atlas shoots for the moon and narrowly misses. Production design is jaw-dropping and the cast give their all.
But some segments are too long, taking the film to an overblown three hours.