Hotel Rwanda movie review, Terry George, Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Desmond Dube, Mothusi Magano, Cara Seymour. Review by Rob Blackwelder ©SPLICEDwire
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A scene from 'Hotel Rwanda'
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3 stars
110 minutes | Rated: PG-13
NY/LA: Wednesday, December 22, 2004
LIMITED: Friday, January 7, 2005
Co-written & directed by Terry George

Starring Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Desmond Dube, Mothusi Magano, Cara Seymour

Don Cheadle (1998)


Still powerful on the small screen. Well worth renting.

  • Don Cheadle
  • Nick Nolte
  • Joaquin Phoenix
  • Cara Seymour

  •  LINKS for this film
    Official site
    at Rotten Tomatoes
    at Internet Movie Database
    Flawed but powerful drama depicts true story of hotel manager who saved thousands from genocide

    By Rob Blackwelder

    Thick with a powerful sense of danger and soon an even more powerful stench of slaughter, "Hotel Rwanda" is a gut-wrenching depiction of the 1994 African civil war though the eyes of an obsequious manager (Don Cheadle) of a Westernized resort who rises to the occasion by risking his life to save 1,200 Tutsis from the ongoing genocide.

    Although the script could have benefited from another pass through the word processor (it suffers from excessive exposition, clumsy self-importance and one simplistically symbolic subplot), the fact-based story it tells of instinctual heroism in the face of unspeakable horror is powerful enough to overcome its flaws.

    This is thanks in no small part to Cheadle's from-the-gut performance as Paul Rusesabagina -- a real Hutu, married to a Tutsi woman, who booked terrified refugees as "guests" in his UN-protected hotel and found the courage to use saved-up favors to hold off Hutu marauders after the hotel is abandoned by international troops under orders. Additional powerhouse acting comes from Sophie Okonedo as Cheadle's wife, Nick Nolte as a frustrated UN commander, and Cara Seymour as a Western aid worker finding courage in her fear as she's torn apart by the nightmare that surrounds her.

    "Hotel Rwanda" asks all the imperative questions about the world's irresponsible political eggshell-walking that left a too-small contingent of peacekeepers standing idly by as 800,000 people were murdered in a matter of months. But unlike in most Western-financed films about foreign conflicts, which tend to insert a white observer in the lead, co-writer and director Terry George captures the internal environment of failed diplomacy and ethnic extremism, fueled by lingering colonial mores and 10-cent machetes, entirely and vividly from a Rwandan point of view.

    "Hotel Rwanda" has more problems than the recent waves of high-praise reviews would lead you to believe, some of which betray the low budget and inexperience of the filmmakers. But one thing all those reviews got right is that the film is viscerally emotional and truly unforgettable.

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