"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."
"Until the philosophy, which holds one race superior and another inferior, is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war. And until there are no longer first-class nor second-class citizens of any nation, until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes, I've got to say, ‘War!' And until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race, there is war. And until that day, the dream of lasting peace, … more
In 1994 one of the most brutal acts of civil war occurred in Rwanda, Africa. It was genocide on the most horrific scale of our lifetimes, rivaled only by Hitler's regime in the 1930's. Hotel Rwanda is the true story of one man, hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina, who managed to harbor 1,268 refugees inside the upscale hotel he managed until he could find a way to bring them all to safety behind the Tutsi rebel lines. Though a peace treaty between the Hutu's and the Tutsi's was … more
I write reviews for a hobby. Most of my reviews are short and to the point, on account of my short attention span. I try to make my reviews both informative and entertaining, and sometimes I succeed. … more
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Starring Don Cheadle, Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Desmond Dube Directed by Terry George Writers: Kier Pearson, Terry George 2004
Product Description Once you find out what happened in Rwanda, you'll never forget. OscarÂ(r) nominee* Don Cheadle (Traffic) gives "the performance of his career in this extraordinarily powerful" (The Hollywood Reporter) and moving true story of one man's brave stance against savagery during the 1994 Rwandan conflict. Sophie Okonedo (Dirty Pretty Things) co-stars as the loving wife who challenges a good man to become a great man. As his country descends into madness, five-star-hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina (Cheadle) sets out to save his family. But when he sees that theworld will not intervene in the massacre of minority Tutsis, he finds the courage to open his hotelto more than 1,200 refugees. Now, with a rabid militia at the gates, he must use his well-honed grace, flattery and cunning to protect his guests from certain death. *2004: Actor, Hotel Rwanda