CINEMA with SARAH O'CONNOR: You'll either love this one or hate it
CLOUD ATLAS (15)
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I CAN'T remember the last time I reviewed a film which has received such a mixed bag of opinions and critiques — some love it, some hate it, some say it's truly awful, others say it's the finest film they've seen for years.
So I guess this is an offering which has to be seen, and your own individual opinion is all that will really count.
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What's for certain is, whether you love it or hate, Cloud Atlas is one of the most original films you will have seen in a long, long time.
So… did I love it or hate it? I loved it.
Based on the 2004 novel by David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas links six different stories, spanning a range of times and places.
All the stories turn out to be strangely connected — and here lies the main theme of the book — that we are all interconnected through time and space and that our actions have impacts on those who follow in our footsteps.
There are many plots, many underlying subtexts and all leading to the same conclusion.
We are never isolated in our actions and there are always consequences to what we do in life.
It took three directors, each shooting different scenes, to bring this sprawling epic to the big screen.
The stories run in parallel to each other, each strand culminating at some point in the future, as it impacts on the other, with sometimes devastating consequences.
Spanning a time scale from 1849 to the 24th Century, and visiting such diverse locations as Hawaii, London, Edinburgh and Korea, the leading actors play various different roles in each time set, sometimes unrecognisable as themselves, sometimes blatantly obvious under their wigs and prosthetic noses.
But the theatricality of this style of performance adds yet another level to the bravery of the production and there are some fine performances by leading actors Halle Berry, Hugh Grant and Hugo Weaving.
It's a shame Tom Hanks, who is the headline star, always plays Tom Hanks — in more versatile hands, and perhaps with a lesser known face, his roles could have had a far greater edge of believability.
At nearly three hours long, this is a sprawling, epic, bold and visionary movie which will have you banging your palm against your head on more than one occasion.
It's brilliantly conceived, daringly executed and not like anything I've seen before on the big screen.
That doesn't mean it's the best film I've ever seen — there are lots of flaws and some of them quite maddening, and if you don't get the premise at the start, you will struggle with the meaning all the way through.
But you will never be short of entertainment and the sheer size and scale of this movie is worth the admission price on its own.
It's one of those films you really should see, even if you end up not liking it, because this one deserves attention for being so daring, so innovative and so splendidly awesome.