Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Ben Whishaw and a clutch of other familiar faces pop up in some startlingly unfamiliar guises in this dizzying screen version of David Mitchell’s time-leaping 2004 novel, Cloud Atlas.

Sporting a variety of funny accents and even funnier noses, they even swap gender and race from one of the film’s six interwoven stories to the next. Watch out for Berry’s transformations into a Jewish woman and an Asian man.

The tales span six different eras, from treachery aboard a mid-19th-century sailing ship crossing the Pacific to a tribal society threatened by cannibals in the post-apocalyptic 24th Century. Yet they all have a common thread – the eternal struggle of freedom versus slavery, selflessness versus greed.

If this sounds dauntingly complex, rest assured. The film’s trio of writer-directors, Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and the Wachowski siblings (The Matrix films), give the narrative breathtaking momentum on screen, creating episode after episode of rollicking adventure and cliffhanging suspense, with plenty of stimulating ideas to chew on in between.

Released on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday 1st July by Warner Home Video.

“Twyker and the Wachowskis bring epic sweep and giddy pace to a time-leaping tale”: Read more of our original review.

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