on 10 July 2005
Based on a true story, Hotel Rwanda is by far one of the most powerful and emotionally stirring films I've seen this year. Terry George's second film shows us that we can expect great things from this man. It seems his pairing with Jim Sheridan has allowed him to learn so much from him and exibits that he has learnt everything there is to know from the great director and become one himself. The film takes place during the genocide in Rwanda when the Hutu extremists commenced a mass slauter of the Tutsi minority. While the killing happened all that the western powers did was ignore this atrocity until the Tutsi rebels had driven the extremists out. This story is about Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle) a Hutu who used the hotel he ran to save the lives of innocent Tutsis by sheltering them within the hotel. Cheadle gives a powerful performance as the wealthy manager who cleverly uses his high connections with both the western world and Hutu officials to save as many as he could. Hotel Rwanda's most impressive scene is when the western countries order that all their citizens be evacuated. George masterfully makes you feel shame (if you live in a western country) that your country participated in that and turned a blind eye to the death that was going on in Rwanda in that order of cowardice. I highly recommend this film if you have even the slightest interest, I would give it more than 5 stars if I could.
on 27 April 2006
This is painful viewing, but only from the rollercoaster of emotions you will experience. You will become absorbed by the raw power of this film. You will feel anger,desperation and humility in equal amounts. On a par with the equally excellent Killing Fields, the over-riding questions at the end of the film are how and why this happened. It is a sad inditement of the West and the UN that they did so little, so late. Out of adversity comes hope, out of madness comes sanity. A truly remarkable film. A truly remarkable man.....
on 26 September 2005
"Hotel Rwanda" isn't about entertainment, but rather about past mistakes and lessons that the International Community must learn from them. Unfortunately, the price of some mistakes is too high...
In the case of the Rwandan genocide, the price of non-intervention was a million Tutsi victims, murdered by Hutus in 1994, while the International Community did nothing even though the UN had troops there. As one Colonel of the UN's forces (Nick Nolte) in the film said, "We are here as peacekeepers, not as peacemakers". Foreigners who happened to be in Rwanda could leave the country, whereas the Tutsis were left to die. That was quite ironic, actually, if we take into account that the division of the people in Rwanda between Hutus and Tutsi wasn't natural, but rather imposed by their European colonisers.
Rwanda was, at the time these events happened, a place where unlikely heroes were all that was left. One of them was Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle), assistant hotel manager of a four-stars hotel and Hutu. His wife Tatiana (Sophie Okonedo)was Tutsi, though, and his children were considered Tutsis too. ... When mayhem began and Paul was left in charge of the hotel, he stepped up and started to hide there other Tutsis that had nowhere to go. "Hotel Rwanda" allows viewers to understand how difficult it was for Paul Rusesabagina to stay alive, and protect the people he took under his wing in a time when many armed Hutus wanted to kill the "cockroaches" (as they called the Tutsis).
Watching this movie is quite striking, as it is based on a true story. Paul Rusesabagina exists, and he ultimately managed to save more than 1200 people from certain death, taking them to a safe haven. His arms were bribes, contacts, and calls he and the other "guests" of the hotel made to acquaintances living abroad, telling them what was happening ("We must shame them into sending help").
You can learn about all that in this outstanding movie, directed by Terry George. Moreover, you can watch the real protagonists of this story in two of the DVD's bonus features, "A Message for Peace: Making Hotel Rwanda" and "Return to Rwanda", and know what really happened, in their own words.
All in all, I highly recommend this film. Too often, when we read about massacres like this in books, they seem abstract, something that doesn't necessarily affect us. That isn't true, but what is going to make us realize that?. "Hotel Rwanda" can do it, and I think that is a reason more than good enough to watch this film.
on 26 September 2005
I found that this film wasn't as hard to watch as I thought it would be, but even still I made the mistake of watching it before collecting my son from nursery, and a few people no doubt were surprised to see me so desolate. Cheadle's family are the catalyst for the viewer's anguish and each member plays their part beautifully, with compassion, determination and resolution. It is not the barbarism of the two opposing factions that disgust you. although yes, they are horrific, but the lack of intervention, rescue and aid these poor people were denied by the world at large. Powerful and disturbing , this film is a must-see.
on 12 December 2006
This is a great movie, there is no doubt about it. Don Cheadle turns out his best performance ever and its great to see that a lot of research obviously went into this film from the actors, the writers and the director.
The movie stays very true to detail, and it is so inspiring to witness the courage of one man, who is almost like a modern day jesus christ. This will definitely leave an effect on everyone who watches it and make you appreciate everything you have in your life.
The special features are very good too, featuring a 30min documentary of the making of the movie which is entertaining and informative and the commentary is very interesting indeed.
I strongly recomend this movie to not only fans of war and history movies but to anyone who likes a good drama.
Another highlight is the performance of sophie onokedo, who is actually British, but is exceptional as the female lead, the wife of the hotel manager.
Buy this movie even if you haven't already seen it, you won't regret it...
In all earnestness, as my DVD churned to a start I wondered if I'd really enjoy a mawkish and thus possibly politically-correct Oscar hopeful related to a civil war in an African country.
Ten minutes into the film I had no memory of my doubts. Hotel Rwanda doesn't waste any time setting up it's overtly charged, suspenseful political tone. Plus, come to think of it, it may in fact be targeted at ignoramuses like myself whose apathy toward the African condition takes centerstage in its riveting drama.
Civil unrest has broken out in Rwanda and two warring tribes are at loggerheads, intent on ethnic cleansing. A massacre has been ordered by one side. Innocent civilians are being slaughtered in their gardens and backyards. One man, a hotel manager in a four star hotel in the middle of the riot-torn city, must take it upon himself to save the lives of as many people as can be packed into his premises, much to the chagrin of savage rioteers.
A throbbing game of cat and mouse ensues. Guest-starring are choice anthropoids from a largely impotent UN who lend a political undertone to the goings-on. The film is finely edited and moves along at a rapid clip as we see sacrifice, grace under fire, valor, love, even an occasional tranche of timely well-located humor.
Interestingly, the screenplay's rawness accentuates Hotel Rwanda's impact. The setup of one man doing a noble turn and saving people of different ethnicity is reminiscent of Schindler's List, but instead of Spielberg's noirish rendition, this film conjures up images of Oliver Stone's classic, Salvador, that showcased James Wood as a sparring journalist in South America. Gritty, infectious.
Nearly a million people died during this period of genocide, a toll that may have been dramatically lessened had the world not turned its back. What a truly humbling masterpiece. Recommended in a blink.
This film tells of a disturbing, shameful, and tragic episode in Rwandan history, a story that was shaped by the colonial racial politics of its former Belgian masters. In 1994, the African republic of Rwanda descended into civil war. The Hutu majority, inflamed by the political rhetoric of guerilla radio, rose up against the Tutsi minority. This tribal warfare led to mass murder, with neighbor against neighbor, and would eventually see nearly a million Rwandans killed.
During this time of great turmoil, fear, and slaughter, an oasis existed in the capital city of Kigali. That oasis was the Belgian owned luxury hotel, Milles Collines. There, its native manager, Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle), a member of the Hutu majority, would find himself in the role of shepherd with a flock of refugees on his hands, which would include his own wife, Tatiana (Sophie Okenedo), a member of the Tutsi minority, and their children.
After the non-native guests and non-native refugees were evacuated to safety, Rusesabagina was left with the daunting task of taking care of nearly twelve hundred native guests and refugees, many of which were the hunted Tutsis, which just outside the gates of the hotel were being indiscriminately massacred, butchered with machetes or shot execution style at point blank range. Extermination of the Tutsi minority was the agenda of the day, and none, including children, were to be spared.
While a handful of United Nations peacekeepers were at the gates of the hotel, their presence was only for show, as their orders were not to shoot. One of them (Nick Nolte) finally told Rusesabagina, who was hoping for help from the outside world, that not a single country was going to lift a finger to help them, and he brutally told him exactly why. So, Rusesabagina was left with having to maneuver around the corrupt Hutu militia, getting supplies and whatever protection that he could, to ensure survival. Situational ethics was the order of the day, as Rusesabagina bribed, wheedled, and did everything he could to ensure that those in his care would survive and outlast the madness and carnage that was going on all around them.
This is a brilliant film, deftly directed by Terry George, who keeps the carnage and gore to a minimum. Yet, he manages with just a few well-placed scenes to convey a sense of the overwhelming magnitude of the genocide that took place, while the entire world watched and did nothing. Don Cheadle gives an amazing performance, low-keyed, controlled; yet, nonetheless, deeply moving. Were it not for the extraordinary performance of Jamie Foxx in "Ray", there is little doubt that Don Cheadle, who, along with Foxx, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, would have won. The rest of the supporting cast also give stellar performances.
This is a brilliantly acted, well-directed film that deserves a place in one's personal collection. Bravo!
"The Kite Runner" may be the best book I have read in recent history, and without a doubt, "Hotel Rwanda" wins the corresponding prize for movies. Unable to believe the senseless violence and slaughter of innocents, my eyes opened wider and wider as the movie progressed, until at some point, the tears could not be held back any longer.
Don Cheadle aces a career making role as Paul Rusesabagina, the quiet, understated hotel manager of a five star hotel in Kigali, Rwanda, who breaks every rule in the management book to protect not only the hotel guests, but refugees from both sides of the genocide that rocked Rwanda in 1994, while the rest of the world looked the other way.
A Hutu by birth and passport stamp, Paul is married to a Tutsi woman (Sophie Okonedo, whose voice changes drastically in octave as the role demands), and by this distinction, his children are also Tutsi, and therefore branded as cockroaches to be exterminated.
Because of his position and well-placed contacts, Rusesabagina is able to cling tenuously to his little safe house, putting up a brave front for the 1200 people he is sheltering from the Hutu tribal forces. When he finds out that the UN peacekeepers cannot help them, and that the rest of the world doesn't want to know about African problems, he resorts to the local language, securing protection by whatever means necessary from the authorities, led by General Bizimungu, who has a weakness for Scottish water of life, foreign currency and self preservation. Being only human, and in a crisis situation, he makes crucial errors in judgment, but by his conviction he manages to hold it all together for as long as necessary.
There are too many powerful scenes to describe, and you have to watch the movie to fully appreciate the horror. There are no gory images as in "Saving Private Ryan" or "Blade", but the Director manages to effectively portray the despair and mass killings without being offensively graphic or crude. One of the most heart rending scenes takes place on a road in the early morning fog, and this is the final straw that rips through Rusesabagina's brittle façade of being in control.
Joaquin Phoenix (you know I have to mention him), in a small role as a cameraman sums it up best when he said "I've never been so ashamed."
This one is a must see.
on 15 September 2005
When most people think of acts of Genocide, we think of the Holocaust. We do not think that these things have happened in our lifetimes or are still happening.
But that is what Hotel Rwanda, is here to tell us. It shows us the horrors that happened in Rwanda in 1994. And how the rest of the world did nothing.
The story is centred around Hotel Manager Paul Rusesabagina, a Hutu man, who saved over 1200 Tutsi men, women and children. By proving them shetler in the hotel he managed. And by bribing, blackmailing, begging and threatening, those in power to help to keep them alive.
At times this film is horrifiying to watch, but at the same time improssible to turn off.
One of the main things that this film will leave you with is shock, as its hard to belive that this really happened less than 15 years ago, and no-one did anything
on 7 August 2005
This movie is a powerful portrayal of man's inhumanity to man. Don Cheadle's performance is magnificent, along side that of Sophie Okonedo, as the manager of the Hotel des Collines in the Rwandan capital Kigali. From the very beginning there is a growing sense of foreboding as Cheadle's character persuades, bribes and ultimately begs in order to save the lives of those who seek shelter in his hotel. Abandoned by the West, their only hope lies with an ineffective UN force led by Colonel Oliver (Nick Nolte), Cheadle has only his wiles and experience to carry him through. As the unrest and violence escalate the tension rises and never lets up.
I'm unsure as to whether my experience of this film was coloured by my previous knowledge of the Rwandan war. Nevertheless I was left feeling wrung-out by the end of the movie, having been alternately horrified, disgusted and appalled by the abandonment of the Rwandan people to their fate, this punctuated by brief, heart-warming moments of human courage in the face of lethal adversity.
Human drama at its best.