It’s not just the all-star cast of Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Ben Wishaw and Hugh Grant, among others. Or the directorial dream team of Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer. Or the fact that it’s based on one of those novels that people are always saying changed their lives.
No, Cloud Atlas is our favorite film of the week because of all of these things—and more.
The almost-three-hour film, out Oct. 26, is a visually stunning tour-de-force that weaves together a series of stories pulled from across the ages (and well into the future). Each of the marquee actors in the project takes the kind of risks they haven’t since days in Off-Off-Broadway theater troupes. Does it seem a bit off to cast a big-name star and then render him or her unrecognizable with makeup and prosthetics? Maybe, but it also works if you let it.
And that’s what makes Cloud Atlas really wonderful—that we’re all in it together. If three directors can join forces in service of one vision and movie stars can take on numerous, not-so-glamorous roles that require a staggering amount of preparation, then we the audience must agree to pay attention, to NOT expect linear filmmaking, and to appreciate this stunning feature for what it is, the most innovative and breathtaking movie in recent memory.