The Wachowski siblings, Andy and Lana (née Larry) of Matrix fame, along with Tom Twyker, adapted David Mitchell’s complex, multi-story novel in a sprawling, nearly three-hour omnibus whose chief attraction is that major cast members each play six roles. The stories span eras, continents and galaxies, ranging from the tale of a post-apocalyptic goatherd (Tom Hanks) to a futuristic Korean fast-food “replicant” (Doona Bae). There’s also a 19th-century abolitionist lawyer (Jim Sturgess), a London book publisher (Jim Broadbent), a bisexual assistant (Ben Whishaw) to a famous composer (Broadbent), and a ‘70s American investigative reporter (Halle Berry) in peril. The episodes are fitfully entertaining, though the dialogue is often juvenile and the stories patched together with forced connections based on metaphysical themes of karma and reincarnation. The effect is dizzying, like watching one of those studio preview reels of the season’s coming attractions.
Director: Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer and Andy Wachowski
Writer: Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski
Producer: Grant Hill, Stefan Arndt, Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer and Andy Wachowski
Cast: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D'Arcy, Susan Sarandon and Hugh Grant