Cloud Atlas 
With a stellar cast playing several roles – often unrecognisably so, as with Hugh Grant’s savage chieftain – CLOUD ATLAS is a towering, engrossing achievement
David Mitchell’s 2004 novel was long considered unfilmable, but Tykwer (THE INTERNATIONAL) and the Wachowski siblings (THE MATRIX) doggedly pursued $100m in financing to create this epic meditation on the power of the soul.
Six individuals’ stories are initially told chronologically, beginning in the early 1800s with Adam Ewing (Sturgess) being poisoned by his doctor (Hanks). The action swiftly moves to 2144, when a servile cyborg (Korean star Doona Bae) is trying to achieve human status, and then to a post-apocalyptic island where a bitter tribesman (Hanks again) guards guilty secrets. Through clever, often blindingly fast cutting and abundant CGI, the various characters are ultimately connected.
With a stellar cast playing several roles – often unrecognisably so, as with Hugh Grant’s savage chieftain – CLOUD ATLAS is a towering, engrossing achievement.
Director: Andy Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski
Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent