4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Hotel Rwanda [DVD] (DVD)
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.