Dazzling and overwhelming

Cloud Atlas Warner Bros. Rating: 14A 172 minutes

I wish I’d read the award-winning book by David Mitchell before seeing Cloud Atlas. Maybe I’d understand it better because there’s just too much to take in. While there are six slightly connected stories in this almost three-hour movie, there’s no logical chronology, although there is a beginning and an end.

Just to make it more confusing most of the actors in the very fine cast, which includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent and many more play several characters, sometimes even unrecogniable characters of a different gender and race.

I wasn’t bored but at times I didn’t know what was happening as we jumped from one story to another. Sometimes that was irriating too. Taking place between 1849 and 2346 the common thread is how souls continue to live on in an eternal quest for freedom and love.

The six stories include a South Seas voyage in 1849, a composer working as an apprentice to another composer in the 30s, an investigative journalist in the 70s, a publisher imprisoned in an old age home modern-day, Korean women working as slaves in a futuristic pleasure place and brutal tribal warfare, also in the future.

The visuals are often dazzling and there’s some nifty make-up, costumes and special effects. The acting is first rate. But I think I need to see Cloud Atlas again. Or maybe even read the book before I see it again to really understand what the heck is going on sometimes.

Rating: three deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.