Visually, this movie is stunning. The special effects truly dazzled, especially in the looks in the world of the future.
Plot-wise, however, it seriously lacked and contained what seemed to be major omissions and errors. And I must say that I was unpleasantly surprised by some of the more adult content. Do not show this to your teen! I was expecting an original sci-fi classic with perhaps a few liberal characters, but instead the film was awash in anti-traditional messages.
The main characters appear to be reincarnating. They lived in the past, they live in the present, they will live in the future. In this storyworld mankind is immortal, and not (it would appear) in spirit only, but in body as well. We see each of the main characters in the same body in each era of time. This is particularly noticeable in Halle Berry's character as little changes other than her wardrobe.
At one point a character is asked if they believe in God. The character deflects the question by stating a belief that love continues forever, for she loved, loves, and will love the same man. Her answers leave you believing that she expects to see him after death and not in a place of eternity, but back in a temporal existence. Humankind are corrupt gods in this film. There are no eternal consequences to their good deeds or their evil outside of passing into the next life.
A large part of the film is devoted to a gay man whose life is truly tragic in that his only happiness seems to be found in his lover.
Cloud Atlas shows a life without God, without the moral strength of a people that are accountable to their creator. Unapologetic, it shows a never ending cycle of humankind in their depraved condition. The heroes are those who are able to look past their own meaningless existence and accept death as one step on their endless journey.
I could not help but feel as I watched this film that the producers are only showing the mindset that they themselves believe along with a large portion of the world. They want no accountability to God, therefore their "morality" becomes a farce. Instead of advancing Civilization (by the only means Civilization has advanced through history, which is Christianity), instead of recognizing that we are degressing into a modern-day Rome where all kinds of sin are accepted (homosexuality, infanticide, abortion, polygamy, etc.) the makers of this film make this present world their Utopia.
Would I recommend this film? No. But I will say that it paints an accurate picture of how people without God are now viewing the world around them, and the hopelessness of their philosophies.