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The Devil Came on Horseback (2007)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 1,299 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 14 user | 44 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

A documentary that exposes the genocide raging in Darfur, Sudan as seen through the eyes of a former U.S. marine who returns home to make the story public.

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, (as Annie Sundberg)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Nicholas Kristof ...
Himself - Columnist, New York Times
Brian Steidle ...
Himself
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Storyline

The tragedy taking place in Darfur as seen through the eyes of an American witness and who has since returned to the US to take action to stop it. Uses the photographs and first hand testimony of former U.S. Marine Captain Brian Steidle to take the viewer on a journey into the heart of Darfur, Sudan, where an Arab run government is systematically executing a plan to rid the province of its black African citizens. As an official military observer, Steidle had access to parts of the country that no journalist could penetrate. Ultimately frustrated by the inaction of the international community, Steidle resigned and returned to the US to expose the images and stories of lives systematically destroyed. We witness Steidle's transformation from soldier to observer to witness and, finally, to passionate activist and moral hero. Written by International Film Circuit

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A witness to evil. A force for peace. An unbelievable true story. See more »

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Documentary

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Release Date:

11 April 2008 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Devil Came on Horseback  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$11,143 (USA) (27 July 2007)

Gross:

$132,309 (USA) (30 November 2007)
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User Reviews

 
Consciousness-raising documentary
28 February 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In the early 2000s, a cease fire was declared between two warring factions in Sudan (the Arab Muslims in the north and the non-Arabs in the south), effectively bringing to an end the bloody civil war that had ripped that nation apart for over two decades (though the peace treaty itself was not officially signed until 2005). Former Marine Captain Brian Steidle went to the country as part of a team sponsored by the African Union to help monitor the cease fire. However, while he was there, a new conflict broke out, this time in Darfur, the far western region of Sudan that is largely inhabited by tribal blacks. As soon as the cease fire was in place, militias and death squads, backed by the Arab government in Khartoum, began a well-coordinated and systematic campaign to brutally terrorize and slaughter the inhabitants of that region. Whole villages and refugee camps were wiped out, their people mowed down, burned alive or left to die of starvation, all for being black. Steidle - sans weapons and armed only with a still camera, a video recorder, a great deal of personal courage and a spirit of righteous indignation - spent much of that time traveling through the countryside compiling a photographic account of the atrocities. "The Devil Came on Horseback" is that account.

With this work, filmmakers Ricki Stren and Anne Sundberg clearly hope to rouse the outside world from its lethargy regarding this tragedy. Steidle's heartbreaking and compelling eyewitness testimony to Man's-inhumanity-to-Man is placed in direct opposition to the lip-service platitudes and hollow assurances he receives from the fiddle-playing leaders in the Bush administration and the U.N. when he confronts them with the evidence. First, there is the resistance on the part of the world to declare that what was happening in Darfur is a "genocide" at all - then, after the admission, an intransigent refusal to step in and take any kind of action to halt the holocaust. Perhaps the most heartrending moments come from interviews with survivors living in refugee camps in neighboring Chad, and from reflective comments made by Steidle himself as he struggles with the enormity of what he's seen and experienced and battles against the frustrating reluctance on the part of those who could actually do something to ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING.

After all the horrors it shows us, after all the inspiring images of one caring man making a difference in the world, the movie turns the spotlight directly onto the viewers, challenging them to take an active part in helping to end this human tragedy. Thus, the movie concludes with a list of websites and telephone numbers where all concerned people can go to find out more about what they themselves can do to have an impact. It's a challenge well worth taking up.


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