Most of the actors in the cast take on multiple roles. They all help tell one story that spans 500 years, a story that illustrates how individual actions from the past affect the future.
It is complex, complicated and sometimes hard to comprehend, but it's still fascinating every step of the way.
At close to three hours, that is no easy feat.
"Cloud Atlas" was written, produced and directed by the Wachowski siblings, who made the "Matrix" trilogy, and Tom Tykwer, who made "Run Lola Run."
As the movie played out, I know I missed a lot, and I know I'm not alone. Hanks told me himself he noticed 10 new things the second time he saw it, and he's the star.
"Cloud Atlas" is visually extraordinary. The performances are all strong. I don't even need to single anybody out. Besides, it's not always easy to tell who's who.
The actors take on different genders and different ethnicities in order to tell this story.
The story is a bundle. I won't pretend I understood everything because I didn't, and I doubt most moviegoers will with one viewing. There's just so much to take in, and so much to think about.
The question then becomes, to better understand it, would you pay to see it a second time? Normally, I would say no to that question. Why pay twice to see the same thing? But I think in this case, I know I'll see something different - something deeper - the second time around.