Out this week on DVD and Blu Ray is the surprisingly watchable Cloud Atlas – a challenging yet accessible sci-fi fantasy. Nesting six stories inside each other, Atlas connects human souls over generations, from a 19th Century shipwrecked notary to a clone awaiting execution in a dystopian future and onward. The large cast is anchored by solid performances from Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent and Jim Sturgess, all playing multiple roles as settings quickly move across time and space.
Viewed individually, some of the segments do struggle to keep silliness at bay, making the nearly three hour running time feel a bit bloated. As a whole, though, Cloud Atlas is ambitious, often visually stunning, and constantly fascinating.
For an even stronger existential dream across time and space, check out Terrence Malick’s glorious 2011 effort, The Tree of Life. As gorgeous a film as you’ll find, Malick’s rumination on innocence lost boasts magnificent performances from Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain. It’s a masterpiece of a film, as big an effort as anything Malick or any other director has tackled. Talk about ambitious!