5 Things You Need To Know About 'Cloud Atlas'

October 25th, 2012 7:00pm EDT

Cloud Atlas One of Hollywood's most buzzed about films of the year opens on Friday, Oct. 26. "Cloud Atlas" is based on the 2004 novel by David Mitchell, which was nominated for England's prestigious Man Booker Prize.

It can be difficult to discern what the film is really about even after watching the six-minute trailer. According to the official synopsis, the film "explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Action, mystery and romance weave dramatically through the story as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in the distant future."

Still confused? Check out five things you need to know about "Cloud Atlas"...

1. The film has three directors - Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski - and is nearly three hours long. The Wachowskis are famous for helming "The Matrix" films.

2. The movie (and the book) features six interrelated stories set in six time periods from the 19th century to the distant future.

Tom Hanks plays six characters, including a goatherd living in post-apocalyptic Hawaii. Various cast members play various characters. Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Jim Sturgess also star.

The film's themes include the meaning of life, human connection, and reincarnation.

3. The movie alternates between the storylines. In contrast, the book proceeds chronologically until the midpoint and then goes back in time section by section.

4. The film was an ambitious project - it cost about $100 million to bring it to the big screen. To put that in perspective, last weekend's number-one film, "Paranormal Activity 4," had a production budget of $5 million.

5. The film reportedly received a 10-minute standing ovation when it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. "Cloud Atlas" has received 77 percent positive reviews on

Related: Cloud Atlas, Starpulse Exclusives, Movies

Photo Credits: Warner Bros.

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