I’m not a huge consumer of movies, but I really enjoy movies, which stretch my imagination or give me a viewpoint which I never considered before. I have four movies, in particular, which have moved me and changed my philosophy in ways I couldn’t be moved by a persuasive argument from a person. See if you recognize the titles and if not, I dare you to start watching.
What Dreams May Come
The vivid way this movie was portrayed was enough to overwhelm my senses, but the ideas of reincarnation, life after death, and suicide were handled masterfully. It begins with painting a picture of a couple who falls in love and their love blossoms through a mutual appreciation of art. They have the perfect family, a boy, a girl, and a dog. Scenes flash forward and flash back after the children are killed in an accident. The mother goes insane with grief, but her husband cannot join with her in her pain because it’s too much. Through art, they reconnect and they start to celebrate the day they reconnected as if it were a second anniversary. Tragically, the husband dies in a car accident, and his wife is left alone.
Unwilling to leave her, the husband tries to continue to make contact with his wife. It appears that they succeed, but it only drives her deeper into depression and the husband accepts his death. In heaven, he is escorted by people he knew from his previous life, and eventually he is reunited with his children. He is notified one night that his wife has committed suicide, and that she is trapped in purgatory. He rallies his guides and goes in search of purgatory to bring her to heaven.
I’m very fond of books, which are Utopian in nature with the underground notion that everything isn’t quite what it seems. In The Matrix, Neo, a computer hacker, is recruited to become the hero to all mankind. Humans think they are, in reality, and living a normal life, but truly they are encased in farm pods, which usurp human energy, and feed the alien race which conquered humanity long ago. A few humans escaped the invasion to an underground world of tunnels and formed a resistance.
The resistance gains access to the matrix through plugging into a machine. They gain members by waking the sleeping populace from the computer program and stealing them from the pod farms. Neo is a reluctant participant, but after he realizes that he can download information into his brain, he becomes more willing to help the resistance.
Within the matrix, there are agents who are actively searching for those who are viruses (the resistance) in the system. They can take over anyone’s body and fight to the death. The only way out of the matrix is through a telephone booth, by taking the red pill, or death.
The story itself was amazing, but coupled with groundbreaking cinematography I was blown away.
Where to begin? I guess that’s the whole point of this movie. It begins by an old man telling a story by the fireside. His English is clipped and juvenile as if he is a caveman. Immediately, the scene flashes to a man in Victorian garb sifting sand on a beach. The scene changes to a woman crossing a bridge in a VW bug talking into a tape recorder asking herself why she’s getting involved with a story which might get her killed. There is another scene change to a modern English editor who is writing his memoirs. Another scene change whisks the viewer to an early twentieth-century man who is writing his suicide note. The next scene change lands us in Korea far into the future where a criminal woman has been brought before the archivist to give a final interview before she is executed. The scene flashes back to the reporter driving through a crowd of protesters, the English editor confessing he didn’t know what his client was about to do, change again to the Victorian man on the beach who announces he’s gathering teeth from what was once a cannibal eating ground to sell, flash again to the final interview for the woman, and finally back to the man who is committing suicide.
That is the first five minutes of Cloud Atlas. It is a mental workout to keep track of all the storylines. Even after watching Cloud Atlas several times, I always notice something new. The idea is that we are all interconnected in this life, and in future lives when we return. We are meant to take care of one another, to create, and stop abuse where we can, despite our reservations.
Set in the near future the audience is introduced to a man who works for a company that writes proxy letters for customers. He lives alone and leads a dull life since he divorced his wife. He longs to have meaning in his life again and comes upon an advertisement for an artificial intelligent computer program. Essentially it’s supposed to be a virtual assistant who learns your habits and makes life easier.
Over the course of the movie, the relationship between the man and the virtual assistant becomes more and more intimate until they begin dating. Strangely enough the relationship with the computer program mimics that of him and his estranged wife. They fight, make up, and forge ahead resolved to make it work. The relationship appears to grow until the man discovers that he has fallen in love with a program, and she is in love with eight-hundred or more other users. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be cheated on with one person let alone eight-hundred. The finale surprised me because everyone loves a happy ending in a love story, but what happens transcends humans and computers.
Have you ever watched a movie which was so powerful it changed how you see and experience life? Let me know in a comment.