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It seems The Matrix makers Andy and Lana Wachowski are incapable of making a small movie. Their latest big and bold risk is an adaptation of David Mitchell multi-layered novel Cloud Atlas. The film that offers several narratives interwoven over the course of human history past, present and future made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, and became a hot topic as critics poured out of screenings wildly divided, with some loving and others loathing it.
Our own Katey Rich is an outright advocate for the daring drama, and like her I've read the book. But having not yet seen the film I'm having a hard time imagining how the Wachowskis and co-director Tom Twyker could possibly have managed to unfold all six of the book's plot lines, even within 164-minute runningtime. So as the film's theatrical debut approaches, I am favoring cautious optimism and taking in each and every piece of promo art Warner Bros. throws our way in the meantime.
Beyond the promise of epic storytelling on a grand scale, Cloud Atlas also boasts a remarkable cast, most of whom are called on to play various roles throughout the winding narrative. The film's website gave us an early taste of these transformations, and now the latest banners—shared below thanks to the film's Facebook page—posit some of these characters in the lushly realized worlds they inhabit.
First up is Tom Hanks and Halle Berry as Valleysman Zachry and Meronym from the "Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After" chapter.
Then we have Berry in a more contemporary context playing the title character of "Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery," opposite Keith David as Joe Napier and Hugo Weaving as Bill Smoke.
Next is a look at "The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish" section, which I must admit was my favorite portion of the novel in large part because of the cantankerous yet hilarious perspective of its eponymous protagonist, played by Jim Broadbent. And who is the glowering blonde beyond the gate? A drag-donning Hugo Weaving as Nurse Noakes. Obviously.
This is a romantic shot of the passionate but impulsive composer Robert Frobisher, played by Ben Wishaw, who is the conflicted figure at the center of "Letters from Zedelghem." In the distance, James D'Arcy makes an appearance as Frobisher's friend, Rufus Sixsmith.
And lastly, three images from the dystopia tale "An Orison of Sonmi~451." In these shots we're shown the beautiful Doona Bae as Sonmi-451, Jim Sturgess as Hae-Joo Im, and Hugh Grant as Sonmi-451's former employer, the head of Papa Song.
Cloud Atlas rolls into theaters October 26th.