This is one of those movies that just anger's you and feel sadden all at once. Don Cheadle was truly Oscar-worthy for this film and 100% convincing in his role as the Hutu Paul Rusesabagina, and Nick Nolte and Le grand Jean Reno give outstanding performances in their limited screen time. British-born newcomer Sophie Okonedo also gives a fine performance as Cheadle's Tutsi wife. Filmed in South Africa as an international (mostly Canadian) production, the faces of the many other important supporting characters looked more than sufficiently authentic, providing a profound human backdrop to the events unfolding on the screen.
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.
on May 22, 2005
What can an ordinary Rwandan hotel manager possibly do?
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.
on April 3, 2011
I attended a hotel convention on April 6, 2009 where the theme was overcoming our current economic adversity, imagine our reaction when the keynote speaker was announced as Paul Rusesabagina, a former hotel manager. Mr. Rusesabagina spoke for 45 riveting minutes, without notes, without any AV aids to a packed house on his country's decent into madness and what it took to save 1268 lives with only the ability to think on your feet and the power of words. Whenever I get down about how my hotel business is going, or my life seems to be wearing on me, I only need to watch this film, it's an inspiration that there is a way out of my miniscule problems. The film is shot with style and class, there is no need to show people being massacred, realizing the road is not filled with pot holes but is strewen with corpes is powerful and makes it's point. Being Canadian and having listened to General DeLaire speak (a combination of people played by Nick Nolte) it is a reminder of how stupid we as people can be and just how political and slow to react the world was back in 1994. The movie is based in part on Mr. Rusesabagina's book " An Ordinary Man" also an excellent read.
Hotel Rwanda is a remarkable film that borders between social commentary, documentary, and character study in the Main Character - Paul Rusesabagina, portrayed brilliantly by Don Cheadle.
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. Others examining this film have identified his leadership in the film as situational and there is no question that a strong progression takes place from the beginning of the film where he cannot go beyond his gate in watching a neighbor brutalized to the end of the film where he has taken personal ownership of the fate of over 1,200 refugees to the extent that he is willing to remain behind and send his family to "safety" without him.
One may argue that circumstances dictated responses, and there is no doubt that incredible pressures skewed the responses portrayed. However, there were choices to be made and alternatives available that seemingly offered more direct or immediate results. What we witness is a man faced with impossible demands and challenges who must reach deep within to draw forth a higher level of leadership, a servant-leader who elevates the needs of others above his own.
Overall, this is a remarkable film. One can only hope that the multitude of lessons available to the astute listener will be learned. There are few films that have the potential to impact one's life. This film can, if you will let it.
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. The movie's great--watch it period.
Few quick thoughts: Who else but Don Cheadle could have done this lead role and pulled it off with such subtlety and nuance?
Also, the movie really doesn't pull punches yet it also doesn't dissolve into showing blood and gore to make its point. For example (and without giving too much away), seeing dead bodies on front lawns carries far more weight than shooting some action scene of attacks on Tutsis. It also is ultimately a movie of hope and shows how even in the worst circumstances, diplomacy in a small way can work. Sadly, not enough people succeeded to prevent the Rwandan genocide.
As far as the DVD goes you get two excellent extra shorts--the making of the movie and the return of the actual person Don Cheadle played (Paul Rusesabinga) to the actual hotel in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, its environs and some genocide memorials in other parts of that nation. Both extras work well as good adjuncts to the package and lead to plenty of head shaking as to why the West ignored the genocide of 1994. They also show you how cool a cucumber Rusesabinga is under the most trying of situations. People talk about heroes and this guy is the genuine article.
There is also two commentary tracks. One for the entire movie featuring the director and Rusesabinga and the other of selected scenes where Cheadle gives his commentary.
on December 1, 2005
When my French husband told me he wanted to watch a movie about the civil war in Rwanda, I was SO uninterested. I knew the movie had gotten alot of hype, alot of press, and had been nominated for an Oscar (or many Oscars), but I was so uninterested in watching a movie about a war in Rwanda.
And that was my typically American response to such a great and humbling movie. Luckily, my husband kept bothering me about this film, and, I finally saw it.
This is the true story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager in Rwanda that housed over 1,000 Tutsis refugees during the Rwandan civil war. After the UN turns its back on his hotel, he and the refugees are left unprotected against the rebel forces. Paul is given an exit visa to Belgium for him and his family, however, he would rather give up his life than have the rebels slaughter the "cockaroaches" as the Tutsis were called.
I was shocked that the Americans did not intervene in this situation...until I realized that they, like myself, probably had little interest in the situation until somebody shoved it down their throats. This is a deeply political movie with so many violent scenes (1000 Tutsis laying dead on a road), (prostitutes being cut in two)that children absolutely should not see it.
I cried more than once in this movie. It humbled me.
on May 21, 2005
After teaching about the Rwanda Genocide for over 6 years, I was anxious to view this film to see if it could help me explain to my students the extent of the Genocide. Unfortunetly, as I compare it to the documentaries and the movie "sometimes in April", Hotel Rwanda is simply not as good. IF you you want to view a film about the Rwanda Genocide, then take the time to view the well researched, very troubling, extremly thorough documentary called Rwanda: Chronicles of a Genocide Foretold
on October 22, 2011
The dvd came in perfect condition. I would definitely buy from this seller again. Good service and fast shipping too.
on January 9, 2007
"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 June 30, 2015
great movie its just so sad what people has to go through