The Wachowski brothers’ sprawling epic tells the tales of a disparate collection of characters spread over centuries, from a murder plot on a 19th century slaving ship through to a post-apocalyptic far future.
The many stories are told in parallel but share common themes and the leading actors play many different parts of different races and even gender thanks to some clever make up effects. The film weighs in at just under three hours and is very wordy, but maintains the attention as it is constantly flitting between the plots which may sound confusing, but they are so different in style and content it is actually quite easy to follow. The film is not without its flaws; I found the future-speak and drawling accents of the Valley sequences rather hard work and none of the stories have quite enough meat on them to become truly involving, especially considering the fact that we rarely stay with them for any real length of time.
But Cloud Atlas is nothing if not ambitious and its originality and vision is to be commended in this era of production line, factory-farmed 12 certificate blockbusters.