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Director: Andy & Lana Wachowski, Tom Tywker
As mountain climbers try and conquer ever more impossible heights and astronauts head farther into the dark recesses of the universe so filmmakers will attempt to adapt a novel that has been deemed ‘unfilmable.’ But if anyone was going to have a try it would be the siblings who brought us “The Matrix” alongside the man who created the energetic “Run Lola Run.”
David Mitchell’s novel “Cloud Atlas” was first released in 2004 and contained six interweaving stories that took readers from the 1800s to a post-apocalyptic future and the film keeps very much the same structure as it examines how the acts of an individual can ripple across time and posits the fact that everything is connected.
This is an epic sci-fi / fantasy film that is as ambitious in execution as one would expect. With some of the biggest stars in the world – Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon and Halle Berry amongst them – playing multiple roles (with Sarandon playing multiple genders) and a massive complex narrative that would take up two film reviews if we were to try and explain it all the film has enormous scope.
Despite the talents of the Wachowski’s and Tywker, the film does run away at points and there are times when it becomes difficult to follow. But the design is unsurprisingly gorgeous and the multiple worlds in which we find ourselves are all immaculately rendered. With the quality of cast on offer it’s also unsurprising that the performances are all really good.
It’s certainly good to see a literate and philosophical sci-fi film that doesn’t insult the audience’s intelligence. There are points when it becomes rather over-indulgent but it still makes an intriguing difference to many of the films on our screen.