If you liked “The Matrix,” you’re bound to enjoy the latest cinematic creation (which has six distinct storylines with the same actors in each one) from Andy and Lana Wachowski. Though Keanu didn’t undergo quite as many wardrobe or makeup changes (on camera, that is), “Cloud Atlas” carries a similar stylistic swagger throughout, with adept action sequences and sleek cinematography to spare. Despite the chore of molding the film into a coherent storyline, “Cloud Atlas” is, in a word, epic.
Any attempt to encapsulate the plot(s) here would be in vain. Suffice it to say that Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent and Hugo Weaving — among a host of others — play the roles of people whose lives span time and space (just like the trailer promised) and their actions ripple through time, sparking future events. Scenarios include Hanks as a tribesman, Berry as a journalist and Broadbent as an old publisher attempting to escape from a nursing home.
The impressive range and believability brought by the film’s cast adds up to a powerful and surprisingly funny flick. Though it may take two or three viewings to put all the pieces together, the potentially painstaking 163 minutes were instead consistently and delightfully engaging.