David Mitchell’s acclaimed 2004 novel consists of six stories, the first set in the 19th century and each subsequent one happening later in human history, with the last taking place in the distant future. As with Russian nesting dolls, each of these stories is encompassed by the one that follows, yet in adapting Mitchell’s book to the screen, writer-directors Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and Andy and Lana Wachowski (the Matrix trilogy) have chosen to jump back and forth from one to the next. Not having read the book, I can only surmise that this is the reason their movie is an incomprehensible mess, held together only by the elaborate stunt of having the same actors—Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, James D’Arcy, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant—play wildly divergent roles in each story.