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Fantasy under a cloud
Tom Hanks and Halle Berry.

The hugely anticipated adaptation of David Mitchell's prize-winning epic fantasy Cloud Atlas has divided critics at the Toronto Film Festival.

Some praised directors Tom Tykwer and the Wachowski siblings Andy and Lana for their skill in interweaving several seemingly disconnected storylines stretched over 500 years. Others laughed the movie off as an embarrassing flop.

Variety described it as "an intense three-hour mental workout rewarded with a big emotional payoff (which suggests) all human experience is connected in the pursuit of freedom, art and love".

Britain's Guardian liked the storytelling but said the film "carries all the marks of a giant folly".

The Hollywood Reporter called the film "impressively mounted" but "there are so many characters and plots tossed about that no one storyline feels altogether satisfying".

Slant magazine called the film "a totally unparalleled disaster".

Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant and Halle Berry play multiple roles.

Hanks said doing the film was a no-brainer. "It's kind of like a hug that gets tighter and tighter," he said.

Cloud Atlas opens in February.