Everything is connected.
That's not just the tagline for Cloud Atlas, the centuries-spanning film based on David Mitchell's brilliant page-turning blast of old-time adventure, sophisticated romance, 1970s-era crime thrills, futuristic science fiction and post-apocalyptic craziness. It's the thread that holds the whole amazing story together.
Directed by The Matrix's Wachowski siblings and Run Lola Run's Tom Twyker, the film stars (playing multiple roles) Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw, Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent and others as characters over the span of centuries and film genres.
Here's what we learned:
1. The Story Begins With a Voyage: Namely, the tale begins with the Robinson Crusoe-esque diary about a 19th century journey over rough seas, uncharted territories and the so-called uncivilized world.
2. And a Piece of Music: The journal ends up in the well-stocked library of a wealthy, 1930s-era composer and his self-involved apprentice, who becomes obsessed with the story.
3. Then It Turns Into a Crime Thriller: And the crime isn't all those 1970s fashions. No, Berry is a nosy reporter who takes on corrupt nuclear power plant honcho Hugh Grant who doesn't want her snooping around. The mystery deepens as the hints of the previous two segments linger.
4. And a Fugitive Gets Locked Up: As an aging publisher tries to hide out from some thugs, he finds himself imprisoned in an old-age home before all hell breaks loose.
5. Before the Story Blasts Into a Futuristic Korea: In its biggest leap, the tale loops heads into the future to include amazing imagery, smiling clones and government repression while still managing to maintain a link to what's come before.
6. And Finally, a New (or Old) Beginning After an Apocalypse: Right back where we began, the story returns to a rough island in the middle of the ocean as Hanks and Berry attempt to begin again following a cataclysm.
Mind blown? While this sounds like a lot of heavy lifting, the original story relied on an impossible-to-put-down mix of styles and genres that seem to be evident in this trailer;and the decision to use Hanks, Berry and more in multiple roles helps underscore the relations between all of the stories.
Because everything is connected.