"Cloud Atlas" may not be the easiest movie to figure out – but Tom Hanks, who probably has more stuff about Hollywood figured out than anybody on the planet, knows.
After all, Hanks plays half-a-dozen roles in the spacey and philosophical collaboration between Andy and Lana Wachowski and German director Tom Tykwer.
A three-hour treatise on the mysteries of existence that jumps between six different stories and uses actors in multiple (and occasionally gender-switching) roles, it debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday as the weirdest and most divisive movie to screen at a festival that has already seen a few entries in the weird 'n' divisive column.
Before the weekend was out, a couple of critics had declared it the best film of the year while another called it one of the worst movies ever made.
But at a Sunday press conference, Hanks summed up the whole crazy flick succinctly. Turns out the movie is "one example of cinematic literature that examines the connectedness of the human race throughout all of time."
Appropriately enough for an extravaganza in which too much is never enough, the TIFF press conference nearly overflowed the stage, with Hanks and the film's three directors accompanied by a full dozen more cast members.
Here is a video of highlights from the freewheeling press conference:
> Lana Wachowski comparing the movie to a uni-brow, a metaphor she said was first used by David Mitchell, the writer on whose novel the film is based.
> Hanks explaining what the movie means and why it's good.
> The Wachowski siblings talking (albeit reluctantly) about how Lana – formerly Larry – decided to be more open about her sexuality since making the film, starting with a New Yorker article.
> And in a moment that actually happened at the beginning of the press conference but is at the end of this video, the whole gang serenading the birthday boy, Hugh Grant.