Posted on 2/25/13 09:19 AM
The Wachowskis team up with Tykwer for a story so sprawling, its initial trailer ran almost six minutes. There are six stories set in different periods of time, all featuring the same core of actors playing reincarnations of their characters. This means we get Berry in reverse minstrel white-face, D'Arcy in Charlie Chan-esque Asian make-up, and most ridiculous of all, Weaving as a female nurse. The latter makes a mockery of the film's central theme of reincarnation, positing the idea that if a man is reincarnated as a woman she will be exceedingly masculine. Broadbent, for some unexplained reason, always seem to be reincarnated as Jim Broadbent.
This film contains so many of the worst elements of modern American cinema: its packed with bad CG, the running time is close to three hours, there's far too much dialogue, the voice-overs are riddled with exposition, and it stars Tom Hanks. Like last year's 'To Rome With Love', the film makes the mistake of running all six story-lines together which means you'll have lost interest in the lot of them by the twenty minute mark as not one of the six is remotely engaging.
On paper, tasking such avant-garde film-makers with adapting such a plot heavy novel as David Mitchell's 'Cloud Atlas' seemed like a disaster. On screen, it's an unmitigated disaster.