The most disappointing film of the year, Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer's adaptation of David Mitchell's 2004 novel fails on nearly every level. The three have turned the book's elegantly structured interlinking of six narratives spanning 500 years, from the 19th century to a post-apocalyptic future, into what seems like a three-hour-long trailer — it's kind of like Christian Marclay's The Clock, but not as cohesive. And they have reduced Mitchell's brilliant manipulation of styles and genres into a tone-deaf mélange that repeatedly illustrates a pop-philosophy involving reincarnation and the insight that "everything is connected."
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On the other hand, the film does make for an impressive visual spectacle, and showcases some of your favorite stars (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, et al.), each playing up to a half dozen wildly disparate roles. Watch as they switch races, genders, and hairpieces while slathered in latex and prosthetics; you might want to stick around until the end credits to see who's who.