Hotel Rwanda [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) [Import]
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Solidly built around a subtle yet commanding performance by Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda emerged as one of the most highly-praised dramas of 2004. In a role that demands his quietly riveting presence in nearly every scene, Cheadle plays real-life hero Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager in the Rwandan capital of Kigali who in 1994 saved 1,200 Rwandan "guests" from certain death during the genocidal clash between tribal Hutus, who slaughtered a million victims, and the horrified Tutsis, who found safe haven or died. Giving his best performance since his breakthrough role in Devil in a Blue Dress, Cheadle plays Rusesabagina as he really was during the ensuing chaos: "an expert in situational ethics" (as described by critic Roger Ebert), doing what he morally had to do, at great risk and potential sacrifice, with an understanding that wartime negotiations are largely a game of subterfuge, cooperation, and clever bribery. Aided by a United Nations official (Nick Nolte), he worked a saintly miracle, and director Terry George (Some Mother's Son) brings formidable social conscience to bear on a true story you won't soon forget. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Regarding the film, there are a couple of points where the forced dramatic moments border on excess, but in all cases the faces on the screen included white ones, lending a certain amount of slack. When African faces were alone on the screen, the terror was sufficiently evident to never have to feel forced. The plot devices certainly owe a debt to earlier films like The Battle of Algiers, Salvador, The Killing Fields, and Schindler's List, but we should remember that this is essentially a true story. Furthermore, Hotel Rwanda's focus on one family and the strength of its bond provides an element of hope and positive feeling that brings something new and invigorating to this genre. Above all, I loved this film.
Plenty, as it turns out. Paul is a Hutu, but his wife, Tatiana (Sophie Okonedo), is a Tutsi, and so, by default, are their children. He is driven by a primal need to save his own family, but as the slaughter continues, more and more friends and neighbors beg him for help.
By the end, Paul shelters 1,200 people in his hotel, saving them from certain death by doing what he always has done: bribing and cajoling the Hutu powers, calling in favors, lying and outsmarting his foes.
He is the Oskar Schindler of Rwanda, a man who becomes a hero by chance and circumstance, using qualities not generally considered heroic. He's no Rambo: He's scared, and conflicted, and full of doubts. Throughout the film, you can see he'd rather just save his family and not have to shoulder this burden of heroism.
Director Terry George (SOME MOTHER'S SON) knows not to get in the way of this harrowing story, which Rusesabagina himself insisted on telling straight, without movie-ish embellishment. It's all true and, given the context, remarkably subtle. (George earned the PG-13 rating by only suggesting the terrible violence, not showing it.)
Still, as the tension builds you can't help but feel you're watching the heir to a classic Western -- perhaps the "High Noon" of modern times, or SHANE -- as this one man steps up to save the town from the marauding bad guys. Of course, he doesn't save the entire town. As with SCHINDLER'S LIST, you're left with the grim knowledge that the people Rusesabagina saved were but a tiny percentage of those who were killed. The triumph comes tempered by the greater tragedy.
Filmed in South Africa, it includes documentary film of actual events woven subtly into the film.
The film resists a tremendous amount of temptation to lapse into social preaching, shaming and condemnation of those nations that stood by or left in the advent of what can only be described as genocide; despite the unwillingness of those countries that fled, to use the word. The subtle nature of what does exist in that realm, is in fact more effective simply presented in the overwhelming imagery of the unimaginable, horrifying scope of events as they played out.
It boggles the mind that the Western World could have been so complacent and indifferent. In the US at the time, we had more important things to focus upon in the media. The O.J. Simpson Trial took center stage and this did not raise to the level of importance to even be a lead story. Bill Clinton identifies this as his single greatest regret of his presidency that he did not use his power, influence and resources to act. There is no excuse that can be offered to justify that lapse. Bill Clinton in this instance, more than any other, had greatness within his grasp to act with the greatest impact upon Human History and demonstrate the values he claimed to possess. Yet he failed to do so. We in the US failed along with him.
Paul Rusesabagina presents a rich study in Character and Leadership.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
great movie its just so sad what people has to go throughPublished 7 months ago by Jennifer Cloutier
This strayed so far from the truth it rapidly became annoying to watch. Would like to offer no stars, if I could.Published on Aug. 1 2012 by Kelly Thierman
Ordered a DVD (Hotel Rwanda)which came very quickly and was in excellent condition as stated. Impressed with service and delivery and condition of product.Published on Jan. 16 2012 by ruppert
The dvd came in perfect condition. I would definitely buy from this seller again. Good service and fast shipping too.Published on Oct. 22 2011 by teacher
If you just want to watch a powerful film, "Hotel Rwanda" is certainly a must. If you think you know anything about the genocide after watching this film, you've been grossly... Read morePublished on Sept. 22 2010 by Xena Torres
Any review online will tell you how good a story this is and how good the movie of it is so I really don't need to get into the obvious about all that. Read morePublished on Jan. 30 2009 by Brian Maitland
"Hotel Rwanda" isn't about entertainment, but rather about past mistakes and lessons that the International Community must learn from them. Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2007 by B. Alcat