Cloud Atlas

I have not seen a movie that moved me so profoundly since I saw Avatar. But, Cloud Atlas, it is an amazing film - a true masterpiece in filmmaking. It's based on a book that was considered "impossible" to adapt into a screenplay, much into a film - but it was done. None other but the people behind the Matrix trilogy pulled this off, and this film (which I caught last night) deserves to be discussed.

The concept of the film is complicated - six different stories set in six completely different periods in time (from the past to the post apocalyptic future) - yet it manages to convey a central message: we are all connected. But there's much more to the film than this; there's also this universal experience of love, and of loss, and struggles of power (among classes, gender, and race). And above all, our innate desire for freedom, which is starkly depicted in one of the six stories, set in "Neo-Seoul" which occurs a hundred years later (in 2144 or so). The "ruling" class creates (mass-engineers) clones to work as servants that they recycle into new clones.

Also by reading the New York Times on the making of Cloud Atlas,  I learned that the Wachowskis decided to use the same actors in all six different scenes to show the central message - everyone is connected. The actors were impressive in all scenes, doing a six-degree turn on their personas. In some scenes, you can't even recognize them!  

Screenplays often really lay it all out for you, but this was like the blueprint for some complicated piece of architecture.
— Tom Hanks on Cloud Atlas

I don't want to elaborate too much here, but the bottom line is, Cloud Atlas is an incredible film and its underlying messages are powerful, almost as if the film is reminding us to "wake up" to the truth of this world and not to forget to create a better future.

 Starring an impressive roster of stars from Halle Berry and Tom Hanks (pictured above) to Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, Jim Sturgess, and more. 

Starring an impressive roster of stars from Halle Berry and Tom Hanks (pictured above) to Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, Jim Sturgess, and more. 

Science devises ever bloodier means of war until humanity’s powers of destruction overcome our powers of creation and our civilisation drives itself to extinction.
— David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
 Great scene from the film, especially in slow motion, with the falling ceramics. Freedom, is it. 

Great scene from the film, especially in slow motion, with the falling ceramics. Freedom, is it. 

Truth is singular. It’s ‘versions’ are mistruths.
— David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
Transient
The better organized the state, the duller its humanity.
— David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

See here for a great article dissecting the message of the film, drawing from Foucault's interpretation of power.