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The Wachowski siblings and Tom Tykwer write and direct this drama, adapted from the novel by David Mitchell, about how every being is interconnected over the course of many eras. Set in past, present and future worlds, the film follows six intertwined storylines. In 1849, during the California Gold Rush, lawyer Adam Ewing (Jim Sturgess), who is suffering from an ailment, meets Dr. Henry Goose (Tom Hanks) and unwillingly helps to hide slave Autua (David Gyasi). In 1936, impoverished musician Robert Frobisher (Ben Whishaw) finds employment with a composer and in time writes a magnificent piece of his own. In 1975, nuclear physicist Rufus Sixsmith (James D'Arcy) helps journalist Luisa Rey (Halle Berry) expose the truth about a new power plant. In 2012, elderly publisher Timothy Cavendish (Jim Broadbent) finds himself stuck in a nursing home and tries to escape. In a totalitarian world in the 22nd century, clone Sonmi-451 (Bae Doona) is due to be eliminated but decides to fight back and stand up for her own kind. Finally, in a post-apocalyptic Earth, tribe member Zachry (Hanks) helps Meronym (Berry), a woman from a technologically-advanced society, on her journey into the mountains in an attempt to find Cloud Atlas, a station that will allow her to communicate with the people who have left the planet to live in space. The cast, which also includes Susan Sarandon, Hugo Weaving and Hugh Grant, appear throughout a number of the various segments.
Martin Sheen and Charles Furness star in this drama about the dramatic sinking of the Nantucket whaleship Essex that was attacked by a sperm whale in 1820. An old Tom Nickerson (Sheen) recounts the story of when he and his crew were the subjects of a vicious attack by a normally peaceful animal and how they were left to fight for their lives as their ship and all their equipment sunk to the ocean floor. After the attack it was three months before the surviving men were rescued and as Tom (played, as a young man, by Furness) and his fellow survivors waited patiently, watching the days pass by, they were forced to endure a great deal to stay alive.
Harrowing drama set during the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
Joe Connor (Hugh Dancy) is a British schoolteacher who takes up a teaching post and arrives in the Rwandan capital just as ethnic and tribal tensions start to increase between the Hutu and Tutsi groups. As the growing tensions starts to spill into the corridors of his school, Joe strikes up a friendship with Catholic priest Father Christopher (John Hurt), who has come to the country as a missionary.
When violence erupts in the country, Joe's school becomes the base for a Belgian peacekeeping force, and along with Father Christopher, Joe decides to remain behind and use the school as a refuge for the persecuted Tutsis - until the Belgian soldiers leave, and they are all put in terrible danger.
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