The Sixth Estate
Thursday, January 06, 2005
QUOTE OF THE DAY : "I have never advocated war except as a means of peace." - Ulysses S. Grant

SONG OF THE DAY : Nirvana - Heart-Shaped Box

LINK OF THE DAY : Good riddance you bow-tie wearing prick!

Thou hadst been better have been born a dog
Than answer my waked wrath!

Hotel Rwanda
9.5/10 STARS

Don Cheadle is Paul Rusesabagina, hotel manager and hero.

Director Terry George brings the brutality of the oft forgotten Rwandan Genocide to the screen in Hotel Rwanda. The film is the very personal story of a man and his family, set against the horrors of an ethnic civil war. Don Cheadle gives a stunning performance as Paul Rusesabagina. Paul is manager of the Hotel Des Milles Collines in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda at the outset of the genocide. With the country descending into chaos, Paul must use his position of authority to safe guard his family and protect the hundreds of refugees now occupying the hotel. The United Nations peace keeping force in Rwanda, lead by Colonel Oliver (Nick Nolte) do what they can to help Rusesabagina. Colonel Oliver's hands are tied though, limited by resources, man power, and mired in UN bureaucracy the peace keeping force can do little more than watch the unfolding humanitarian crisis. As the world turns it's back on Rwanda, Paul must act quickly and pull in every favour he has if he and his family are to survive the coming genocide.

The story of Hotel Rwanda had to be told sooner or later. The world literally turned a blind eye to the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 that saw the slaughter of nearly one million people at the hands of machete wielding gangs. Director Terry George gives a documentary feel to the movie, and without it the film may not have worked as well. As for the actors, I really can't speak highly enough of Don Cheadle's performance in this film, he was amazingly believable and should look forward to an Oscar nomination. Nick Nolte's performance varied throughout the movie. His wheezing, muttering performance may have been what the director was looking for or it could have just been Nick Nolte being himself. Surprisingly the film is not as outwardly violent as one would expect in a movie about a genocide. There are a few violent parts, but much of the horror of the genocide is merely alluded to. Hotel Rwanda is able to tell the horrific story of the genocide without getting into gruesome detail.

The movie takes some liberties with names, chronology and events, but in order for the film to work these are necessary changes. Nolte's Colonel Oliver is basically an amalgam of all the top UN military personnel, whereas Cheadle's character is a real person. These minor details won't concern anyone who isn't already familiar with Rwandan Genocide. The personal survival stories like this are incredible, but I would have liked to have seen more of the UN peacekeepers angle on the tragedy. Joaquin Phoenix is in the movie too... For about 5 minutes. His role as a generic news agency cameraman feels almost pointless, like they had to add another big name to add to the marketability of the film.

Hotel Rwanda is one of this year's best movies. It's by no means the feel good movie of the year, but it's very powerful film. Don Cheadle gives the performance of his career and shows what an underrated actor he really is, Hollywood take notice. The world ignored Rwanda in 1994, it's time to pay attention and hear their story. See this movie.


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