Directed by: Terry George
Premise: A hotel manager in Rwanda (Don Cheadle) takes in over a thousand refugees during the 1993 massacre.
What Works: The film works as a humanitarian plea for help without ever wagging its finger at the western audience. Don Cheadle is very good as the manger attempting to protect the Tutsi refugees from the Hutu militia. Nick Nolte gives a very empathetic performance as a United Nations general who is powerless to stop the massacre. Most impressive is the film’s intensity. It never gets over the top, but does create a very real sense of danger.
What Doesn’t: It could be argued that the film does not go far enough in portraying the violence. Where Schindler’s List took its audience into the death camps, Hotel Rwanda keeps a lot of the brutality just out of sight. Viewers can debate whether or not this is to the film’s credit.
Bottom Line: Hotel Rwanda is an important film and it deserves a lot of attention. Despite its grisly subject matter the film finds the humanity in the situation and puts that on display in contrast to the brutality of the environment.
Episode: #39 (February 13, 2005)