cloud atlas

Understanding Cloud Atlas

A movie can take us anywhere, anytime — a story can shift between the past, present and future — and startling new worlds can be created in the blink of an eye.

However, it takes a special filmmaker to create such on-screen magic, and in the case of Cloud Atlas it takes three directors: Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski.

The trio combines talents to adapt author David Mitchell's award-winning, epic novel that follows various human souls through a myriad of lifetimes. As they move from lifetime to lifetime they sometimes switch genders and races, and ultimately must account for their past actions. Here's how some of the pieces fit together in this cinematic puzzle, opening at Cineplex theatres October 26.


The story begins in the 19th century with a South Pacific sea voyage that finds American notary Adam Ewing (Jim Sturgess, lying down) falling ill and being treated by Dr. Goose (Tom Hanks).


Ewing's diary is found by English musician Robert Frobisher (Ben Whishaw, right) in the 1930s while he’s helping an aged composer (Jim Broadbent) transcribe his work.


Frobisher's letters to his lover fall into the hands of 1970s journalist Luisa Rey (Halle Berry, seen here with Keith David) who's investigating a story about a nuclear power plant.


Rey's story, in the form of a novel manuscript, is sent to British book publisher Timothy Cavendish (Jim Broadbent), seated with his friend Ursula (Susan Sarandon).


In the future, Cavendish's life story is shown as a film to clone Sonmi-451 (Doona Bae).


Although a clone, Sonmi-451 possesses a rebellious spirit that makes her a target for the totalitarian government.


In a post-apocalyptic future, Sonmi-451's tale inspires Zachry (Tom Hanks), a tribesman, and Meronym (Halle Berry), a surviving member of a technologically advanced civilization.

Cloud Atlas opens in Cineplex theatres October 26.

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