Hotel Rwanda (2004) Poster


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Not surprisingly, you'll need to have some Kleenex nearby as you watch this film.
MartinHafer20 January 2014
"Hotel Rwanda" is an incredibly sad sort of film. After all, during 1994 between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people were murdered--mostly Tutsis hacked to death due to an insane tribal rivalry with the more numerous Hutus. Genocide is not pleasant viewing. However, the film is a bit easier to watch than it could be, as most of the scenes of the slaughter are pretty tame. This isn't really a complaint--it doesn't deny the killings but it also doesn't show a lot of hacked off limbs and bodies (though there are quite a few of the latter). I appreciate how the MPAA changed their minds and re-rated the film PG-13 instead of R, as R would seem to imply that it's not a film for a wide audience. Folks should see this film.

Instead of "Hotel Rwanda" showing the violence in a general fashion, it focuses on a very brave man. Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle) was the man who ran the swank Hotel Rwanda around the time of the genocide. In a very brave move, he opened the hotel to the Tutsi (who were being massacred) and created a tenuous safe haven. However, when the UN pulled out (as the UN did what it usually does in these situations...NOTHING!), Rusesabinga had to learn on the fly to work with the ruling powers, the mobs and the few remaining UN troops (though most had left). Rusesabinga managed to not only save his family (his wife was Tutsi and children half-Tutsi) but 1200 people through his heroics. The film shows the way he connived and begged and worked to make this possible in the midst of Hell.

The film is a high quality and well made product. Not surprisingly it's on the IMDb Top 250 list and it also was nominated for three Oscars (including one for Cheadle who sure sounded African to my untrained ears). And, not surprisingly, it's an awfully tough film to watch. I don't recommend it for very young audiences but folks need to see this film and realize we have not come that far as a world. And, it's sad the film and other films about Rwanda during this period didn't come out until a decade after the massacres. It also makes you realize just how far from its original charter the UN has gone--it SHOULD have been able to take a stand against such evil.
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Powerful, gut-wrenching and compelling
TheLittleSongbird8 July 2011
Hotel Rwanda was one of those films I initially put off seeing for reasons I don't really know, but after seeing it that decision is one of those decisions that I've regretted as it turned out to be one of the better films I've seen in a while now. Hotel Rwanda is beautifully shot and the scenery is striking while still being authentic without being too clean. The story is always compelling and powerful, with plenty of gut-wrenching and poignant moments while never feeling preachy. The film is excellently directed and scripted too, while Sophie Okonedo, Joaquin Pheonix and particularly Don Cheadle give superb acting performances. Overall, a truly fantastic film. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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sincere history telling
SnoopyStyle31 December 2015
It's 1994 Kigali. Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle) is a hotel manager who knows the right people and gets things done. He's Hutu but is apolitical. He sees signs of upheaval. His wife Tatiana (Sophie Okonedo) is Tutsi but he expects his connections to pull his family through. Canadian Colonel Oliver (Nick Nolte) from the UN is at the hotel touting the new peace agreement. Reporter David (David O'Hara) and cameraman Jack Daglish (Joaquin Phoenix) arrive to cover the story. When the massacres start, his home and then his hotel are inundated with refugees.

This is a sincere telling of a harrowing historical story. Don Cheadle delivers a sincere performance. It's all very sincere. There is an inevitability to the story. It is a bit heavy-handed but the history demands some heavy-handedness. However, the lines coming out of Colonel Oliver is too much. There are a couple of instances of overly sincere lines when the simple images are more than enough. I'm almost glad that the white people left the hotel. The movie points the camera at one horrifying scene after another.
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terrible portrait
Kirpianuscus16 December 2015
to use the right tone. to present pieces from the puzzle who remains different stories with the same roots. that is the secret for a good historical film. and Hotel Rwanda is one of them for the art to show a contemporary story who, for too many years, remains in silence. a huge ethnic genocide. and a man looking save the others with mercy, passion and crazy courage. the cruelty. and the terrible image. the other in a war who represents only statistics. and the run for remind the humanitarian values. it is not exactly a story. only a portrait. not about Rwanda but about each war from the beginning to present. a portrait of hate and about crime in name of fake noble ideals. well acted. with a wise script. a testimony about the force to be against the evil. alone. must see it ! not as history lesson but as tool for understand every day events.
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He Made the Difference In a Country of Poor Black People Without Oil, Gold or Diamonds
claudio_carvalho1 May 2006
In 1994, the world was surprised by the images on TV of the genocide of the Tutsis by the Hutus in Rwanda. Nevertheless genocide was happening in Africa, the West ignored and turned back any sort of support to this poor black people, inclusive USA opposed in the security council of UN to any type of help.

"Hotel Rwanda" rescues, through an overwhelming and awesome movie, the life of one anonymous hero called Paul Rusesabagina, performed by Don Cheadle in his best role along his career. This simple hotel manager of a four stars hotel sheltered 1268 Tutsis and Hutus refugees in the Milles Collines Hotel of Kigali, and with his common sense and courage, saved the life of these people. When the genocide finished in July 1994, there were a million dead bodies left in Rwanda. The Tutsi rebels forced the Hutu army and the Interhamwe militia to move to Congo.

It is amazing that it has taken ten years to see this powerful contemporary drama on the big screen, when we see dozens of Holocaust movies as if this has been the unique slaughter of a race in the recent history. As far as I remember, this is the first movie that I see showing, in a sensitive and full of love and hope way, the misery of this people, which the world turned back maybe because they do not have oil, gold or diamonds in their poor country. I really would like to register my congratulation to director Terry George and Don Cheadle for this movie, and Paul Rusesabagina for his example to mankind. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): "Hotel Ruanda" ("Hotel Rwanda")
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Genocide tales
Prismark1023 November 2014
Making a film of the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994 is not an easy thing to do as you need to find a hook to grab the viewers and keep them interested. I have already seen Shooting Dogs which was released at a similar time and also dealt with the events of the Rwandan conflict.

Hotel Rwanda sees Don Cheadle playing a luxury hotel manager Paul, a Hutu who spends his time charming people of influence. His wife is Tutsi and the he is respected by the corporate owners of the hotel based in Belgium.

As the conflict escalates and using bribes in terms of money and booze to some sympathetic Hutu bigwigs to tune a blind eye he brings over some Tutsi neighbours and his family to the hotel.

Once the UN decide that the country is too dangerous and decide to leave and leave the Tutsis to their deaths, Paul opens up the hotel to the Tutsis and then figure out how to get everyone to safety as the Hutu militia are sensing blood.

The film is based on true events and has a docu-drama feel to it by director Terry George. The film has strong performances from Cheadle, Nick Nolte and Sophie Okonedo.

Maybe because I saw Shtting Dogs first there was an element of seen it all before. The film could had done with more spikiness as to why UN forces left people to such a fate when they were supposed to be protecting them.
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An imperfect film but still a devastatingly emotional one that cries out to be seen (mild spoilers)
bob the moo31 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
In 1994 tensions are high in Rwanda between the ruling Hutus and the Tutsis rebels while the UN tries to broken a peace agreement. This is of little interest to Paul Rusesabagina, a Hutu with a Tutsis wife whose position within a leading hotel means he has to curry favour with many officials and smoothing over any potential problems at every turn. When the Hutu president is assassinated, a massacre of Tutsis begin – adults and children alike. With the UN unable to take action due to the indifference of the West the murders continue and Paul finds himself with a hotel, evacuated of important whites but full of Tutsis refugees as the Hutus seek to finish the job they started.

I'm not entirely sure how one can review this film with a clear mind because no matter how good or bad a film it is, it is near impossible not to left shaken by the events it depicts. The plot follows the story of Paul Rusesabagina, who pulled all the strings he could to protect the Tutsis refugees who wound up in his hotel during the genocide by the Hutus. In this regard we are given a way into the atrocities through this specific story and this is both a strength and a weakness in the telling. The strength is that it gives us a focal point and a point of emotional connection that we can relate to and see a human face in the way that the terrifying numbers do not. However the downside of this is that it makes the story smaller than it could have been and puts the scale of atrocities outside of our direct view for the majority. It also means that it produces a "happy" ending that leaves you with a sense of some respite (not to mention the obligatory "African" song). This was a problem for me because the film had succeeded in gutting me at points and I didn't want to be left with any upbeat note – I wanted to go away feeling just like the foreign photographer did; "f**king ashamed".

However considering what the film does well, it is petty and unfair to make a bit issue out of the fact that the narrative is occasionally a bit clunky and perhaps that the depiction of the genocide doesn't go far enough. Even without graphic violence and more than one scene of actual horror the film still sickened me to my stomach, had me almost shaking with anger and fear while at the same time failing to prevent tears rolling. Like many viewers I knew little more than a genocide occurred and couldn't have told you which side was killing the other – this is not ignorance on my behalf but just the fact that the West ignored this and stood by while it occurred while the media gave it little or no coverage. The film depicts this very well giving us enough horror and enough human emotion mixed with an understanding of the West's attitude to produce an impression of an event that is indefensible and truly, truly horrific. The characters are quite broadly painted but they do enough to give us an understanding of what occurred. While I do feel that the film could have shown more and been wider, the close focus on the hotel and the Rusesabagina's means that we are never far from understanding the true extent of horror and just how much of a reality death is – Paul does not discuss how his family will survive if the hotel is stormed, only how they will die in the least horrific way.

Matching the tone of the film are two performances that blow away everyone they were nominated with at the 2005 Oscars. Cheadle's accent in Ocean's 11 was the worst cockney this side of Mary Poppins but here he gets the accent and mannerisms just right and made me forget that he was an American. His character changes throughout the film and he copes with it really well, producing a character that is easy to get behind and provides a very human face to the story. Okonedo is superb and is almost impossible to watch without being moved to tears more than once. Nolte is effectively gruff although he is less a character than he is a symbol of how ineffective the UN was at the time. In a similar vein Phoenix is excellent in a small role although really I could have done with a few less starry cameos as they tended to distract from the main material. Outside of the lead two, the actors are not given as much to work with as the lead two but Cheadle and Okonedo are superb and match the emotional impact of the material.

Overall this is not a perfect film; it didn't quite go far enough and the focus on a small group tended to conceal the scale of the genocide. However this is a minor complaint because the film is devastatingly effective and is impossible to watch without feeling lost, helpless and utterly ashamed for our inaction. This is not an easy watch and will not be a fun night out for the audience but for many reasons it deserves as large an audience as possible.
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"We must shame them into sending help."
classicsoncall26 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
It's films like this, whether one hundred percent historically accurate or not, that convince me that any suggestion of 'world peace' is merely a pipe dream. Here you have two warring tribes within the same country that can't get along with each other, resulting in death and bloodshed involving over a million people. And for what? When you come right down to it, what was the essential difference between Tutsi and Hutu? None that I could tell, and quite honestly, none that most of the evil Interhamwe could tell as well unless one admitted to being one or the other. It just makes me so angry.

And as for the United Nations, what exactly is their purpose if they can't take a principled stand in the face of genocide and slaughter? Any minute I was expecting Nick Nolte's character, General Oliver, to take matters into his own hands as he witnessed the persecution and beatings, but no. He was handcuffed by a set of principles laid down by distant bureaucrats with the threat of losing his command if he didn't follow orders.

It's hard not to wind up being cynical after seeing a treatment like this. I have a t-shirt that states 'Losing Faith in Humanity, One Person at a Time', and this film is the embodiment of that sentiment. The real life Paul Rusesabagina, portrayed by Don Cheadle, is a living saint in my book, having the courage and selflessness to look beyond his own family and personal circumstances, to put his life at risk to help both Tutsis and Hutus escape an impossible situation. His most powerful scene, in my estimation, was when Paul realized that the world community was not moving forward to help the Rwandans, challenging his hotel guests and the targeted Tutsis to reach out to anyone they personally knew who could possibly help their situation. It was such a travesty that he had to implore them all to 'shame the world into sending help'.
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A Captivating Story of Genocide in Africa
gavin694230 August 2006
Hotel Rwanda tells the true story of one man's determination to hide over 1000 people during the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Watch as his country, his family and everything around him falls apart.

This film was destined for greatness. The subject matter is so grave, so serious, that only a really bad film could have lessened the impact. And this is not a bad film, but rather a very good one: solid directing, great music, great acting and imagery.

Don Cheadle is the main character. The only bad thing I can say is that he bears a striking resemblance to Tim Meadows, but that's not Cheadle's fault. Every tear, every cry of anguish and each loving embrace seemed real to me. And he definitely came across as someone who is African at heart. (I have no idea if Cheadle is African, American or European, but he could have been Rwandan.) I was confused by the appearance of Nick Nolte and Joaquin Phoenix. They could have been distracting from the overall film, as they were the only mainstream actors in this otherwise sea of unknowns. They weren't, though. Phoenix had a small role, yet quite powerful. And Nick Nolte was the shining star, playing a Canadian military man who was the only person who cared about the Rwandans. (His speech in the bar about the difference between Africans and n*****s rings very true, and sadly will for some time.) Jean Reno was Jean Reno, I could have used more of him, but I'm happy just knowing I was able to glance upon his droopy eyes and somber face.

Now, the imagery is where this film shines the most: the violence, the corpses, the scenery... all so shockingly real. The film was rated R before petitioning for a PG-13. And I'm so glad they did, because the message inherent in this film should not be missed out because someone is "too young" to understand. Hatred is universal.

Watch this film, and if you have the heart, make the extra step: speak out against the genocides in Rwanda and other war-torn African nations.
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I heard Paul Rusesabagina speak at Lewis & Clark College.
lee_eisenberg21 July 2005
"Hotel Rwanda" recreates the 1994 Rwandan Genocide in the same way that "Schindler's List" recreated the genocide against the Jews. The movie shows not only the massacre, but also how the international community did nothing to stop it. Hotel owner Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle) and his wife Tatiana (Sophie Okonedo) sheltered several Tutsis and moderate Hutus in the Mille Collines hotel, saving them from getting murdered.

Right after I saw the movie, I attended a speech by the real Paul Rusesabagina at Lewis & Clark College. He explained how the Belgian colonization of Rwanda set the stage for the 1994 genocide (the Belgians put the minority Tutsis in power, completely disenfranchising the majority Hutus), and what it was like for him experiencing it. As for why specifically the international community did nothing to stop the massacre, Rusesabagina said (as a mild joke): "Maybe it's because Rwanda doesn't have oil." Anyway, "Hotel Rwanda" is a very powerful movie that reminds us not only of this specific event, but about what can happen if we forget the past. I recommend it to everyone.
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Hotel Rwanda
jboothmillard5 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I had seen a little bit of this film in college, and of course I knew the lead actor, so I was very eager to see it. Based on true events, this film is set in Rwanda during the historical genocide (deliberate and systematic extermination of national, racial, political, or cultural groups), a civil war between the Hutu and Tutsi peoples. The protagonist caught in the situation is real life hero, manager of Sabena Hôtel Des Mille Collines, Paul Rusesabagina (Oscar and Golden Globe nominated Don Cheadle) - Hutu, along with wife Tatiana (Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls' Oscar nominated Sophie Okonedo) - Tutsi, and their children. Paul saw his responsibility to save as many people as he could, the majority being Tutsis, by sheltering them in his hotel, and bribing (with money and alcohol) police for protection. In the end, even after being taken out of the hotel, the UN Peacekeeping forces, led by Colonel Oliver (Nick Nolte), convoy them to reach safety behind Tutsi rebel lines; Paul managed to save 1,200 refugees. Also starring an underused Joaquin Phoenix as Jack Daglish, Desmond Dube as Dube, David O'Hara as David, Cara Seymour as Pat Archer, Fana Mokoena as General Bizimungu, Hakeem Kae-Kazim as George Rutaganda, Tony Kgoroge as Gregoire and an uncredited Jean Reno as Sabena Airlines President, Mr. Tillens. Cheadle gives a magnificent Oscar-worthy performance (he lost to Jamie Foxx in Ray), Okonedo also gives very good support, and the film itself has all the right elements to make it quite a powerful drama. It was nominated the Oscar for Best Writing, Original Screenplay, it was nominated the BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay, and it was nominated the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture - Drama and Best Original Song for "Million Voices". It was number 90 on 100 Years, 100 Cheers. Very good!
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Ambitious, successful TV-docudrama.
rmax30482325 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The story is familiar enough in its outline that I'll pretty much skip it. Basically, Don Cheadle's character, a hotel manager in Rwanda during the genocide, manages to save most of his family and more than a thousand Hutus who would otherwise have become victims in the slaughter.

It's sometimes reminiscent of parts of "The Killing Fields" and "Salvador," but it's more modestly done. No grand, sweeping shots of ten thousand extras; no repetitive shots of machetes hacking up innocent people. It's the story of one ordinary -- well, maybe extraordinary -- guy who wheedles, bribes, and blackmails until he gets his charges out into neighboring Tanzania.

Yet, though we see little of it, the horror hangs palpably in the atmosphere. Cheadle's character is driving a van full of supplies back to his hotel in the middle of the night and the van begins to bump and lurch on a suddenly rough road. Cheadle gets out and discovers he's been driving over piles of corpses which cover the road as far ahead as he can see.

The UN forces are present but almost (not quite) impotent. I lost track of who was doing all the killing -- there is the army, the rebels, various factions -- it hardly matters. The Hutus are killing the Tutsi children so as to wipe out the next generation. It's difficult to tell how this differs much from the Serbs raping rival women in order to impregnate them and produce a next generation that is at least half-Serbian.

Perhaps half a million people were killed in Rwanda in 1994. The rivers and waterfalls were choked with naked and mutilated bodies. And little attention was paid by most of us, just as there is little attention being paid to events in Darfur as I write this. Our general view of human nature is that we are flawed but perfectible. Maybe we're just flawed. Maybe what we need is a signal of surrender, the kind dogs have, in which the loser rolls over on his back and the victor straddles him, looks around, and growls. Alas we have no such signal. The hand of the Intelligent Designer shook.

Cheadle's performance is better than just good. He's VERY good. He darts about wearing the same expression, wheeling and dealing, being reasonable, until we think that's all there is to him. Until there is a scene with a corrupt general who swigs out of a bottle of single malt scotch and muses about his visit to Scotland. "Good golf. I wonder if I will ever visit there again. Do you think so?" Cheadle, meanwhile, sweat pouring down his face, has been frantically stacking bottles of scotch in a crate to bribe the general, paying no attention, and he replies unthinkingly, "No," then looks up and adds quickly, "I mean there are many things I believe we should all do in the future." The scene ends with Cheadle's man who embraces realpolitik finally losing his temper and shouting wide-eyed at the general that some day there will be an accounting for all this and who, if not Cheadle, will be around to testify for the general. The transformation of the character from polite and subservient to angry and threatening is shocking. And it is hard to believe that Cheadle could have been one of the undercover Narcs in "Traffic." He's exceptional.

His wife, Sophie Okonedo, is compellingly beautiful in a most ordinary kind of way with her plump pouting lips, her Egyptian eyes, and her narrow-shouldered vulnerable frame.

But, really, all the performances are pretty good. If there were a temptation to turn the white folks into villains, it was successfully resisted. I'm not sure -- I'll have to look it up later -- but I don't believe the distinction between Tutsi and Hutu was created by European colonials. Probably the measurements and all that took place, and perhaps the laying on of hands ceremony, but if I remember the Hutu and Tutsi spoke different languages and were of different somatotypes to begin with. Not that it matters much.

The movie is both gripping and instructive. A great candidate for showing in classes on international affairs and social change. Throw it into a philosophy class while you're at it. Let's see what they make out of human nature.
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Extraordinary film based correctly on real deeds about the brutal genocide
ma-cortes21 December 2005
1994 Rwanda,Kigali. Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle) is a Hutu happily married (Sophie Okonedo) and with children .He's a Hotel manager -Millie Collines proprietary of Belgian Airlines : Sabena- and its General Director(Jean Reno) placed in Belgium. Paul is respected for his generosity , charm , friendship and numerous contacts with important people. He's accidentally trapped in violent events when his family and neighbours are threatened to be killed . He gets avoid it by means of bribes with the hope that United Nations (UN) and international forces arrive to preventing the civil war. However the happenings break out again . After assassination President of Rwanda, all get worse. It begins the horrible genocide including rampage , massacres and ravage in Rwanda which is spread along Burundi. Slaughter of Tusis by the Hutu is executed by soldiers and rebels. A journalist (Joaquin Phoenix) get into tumult and will shoot the events to show it all around the world. Paul gets to protect his family and unfortunate refugees at the hotel but others hapless people by the hundred are coming to ask for help. Meanwhile, the refugees Tutsis flee toward Congo to find shelter .The film has an acid critic to the indolence of United Nations (exception for Colonel incarnated by Nick Nolte) and international community and specially , the abandon of the European foreign policy .

An interesting and thought-provoking film depicting terrible happenings and based on historical facts . Thus, a character tells that origin conflict is due to Belgians whom in colonization time differentiated the Tutsi as highest and more white complexion and co-governed united the country, now the Hutu are taking the vengeance. It's calculated in the indiscriminate massacre were cruelly killed by militia Interhamwe approximately one million people and in only three month. The bloody conflict finished in 1994 when the Tutsi throw out the Hutu army and militia through the frontier Congo. Leader of Interhamwe was condemned to maxim penalty. Don Cheadle's interpretation is magnificent , he was nominated to Academy Award , although wrongly didn't obtain it . The motion picture well directed by Terry George. Rating : Awesome and above average . Indispensable and essential watching.
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Not a pretty picture, but a struggle for survival.
TxMike28 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Fairly accurately, I suspect, 1994 Rwanda is depicted as a nation where intimidation and bribes control everyday commerce. Don Cheadle in a superb performance is Paul Rusesabagina, the assistant manager at a Belgian hotel in Rwanda. Paul becomes manager after the president of Rwanda is killed by insurgents, and the white manager flees. Instead of trying to cover the whole conflict, with millions killed by rival tribes, this movie focuses on this person, Paul, and his efforts to save over 1200 by welcoming them into the hotel, while doing what he could to stall the insurgents who wanted to kill all the "cockroaches", their name for those being killed. They especially wanted to kill all the children, to prevent that generation from growing up.

I suspect the movie is mostly accurate, as the real Paul Rusesabagina was a consultant for making the movie, and he is also featured on an interesting DVD extra, where he takes us back 10 years to the places and events depicted in the movie. Nick Nolte has a key role as Colonel Oliver of the UN peace keeping force. As was described, they could not do much to stop the genocide.

Not a pleasant movie to watch, but an important one as it shows a dark side of the world we live in. But also a bright spot, how one person can make a difference. And, Don Cheadle gives a superb performance as Paul.
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Hotel Rwanda Meets Oscar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg****
edwagreen8 February 2006
Genocide is the focus at Hotel Rwanda where the former Belgian colony explodes into utter chaos. Minority groups are routinely referred to as cockroaches and are headed for extermination.

It seems as if no one really cares about the fates of these poor miserable people trapped by fate.

Don Cheadle, as the hotel manager, is absolutely brilliant in a worthy Oscar nominated performance. His compassion runs deep. Cold at first, he does undergo an Oscar Schindler-like change for the sake of humanity.

A U.N. commission is sent in at first only to lead white people caught up in all this to safety. The scene where their bus leaves with a woman holding a dog in the back is poignant.

There is plenty of corruption and despair.

Will the U.N. rush in at the end and do an old western style cavalry saving of the civilians? It is well worth it to see this picture and find out.

Cheadle's wife in the film is played with gusto by Sophie Okenado. Her best supporting Oscar nominated performance is worth to see, as she depicts a woman of desperation who screams at her husband when she and their children are allowed to flee but he opts to remain.
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Powerful, touching reflection of the good and bad of humanity
Gordon-1127 March 2007
This film is about a man who helped over 1000 people to escape genocide in Rwanda in early 1990's.

This film serves as a mirror in which everyone can reflect upon. As the film rightly stated, where were we when the people were in need? When we see these terrible images, we say that's sad and then we continue our happy lives. This is sad, and even shocking, but true.

The plot is touching, especially the fact that Rusesabagina tried every way possible to save the innocent lives. He risked his own live to save complete strangers. Despair after despair, he did not give up hope.

Due to the tight editing, we got to see a lot of horrifying scenes in the space of 2 hours. However, I am sure the situation was much worse than portrayed in the film, as in the film the violence was shown in a restrained manner.

Though in the film we get a happy ending of the main characters, we must not forget that most of the millions who suffered did not have such fortune. The lives of the millions died, and many more millions who survived to suffer should be remembered, not just the hero who rightly deserved his glory.
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Astounding as it is awesome.
michaelRokeefe2 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This movie deserves every accolade thrown its way. Don Cheadle probably has never been better. Based on an event that seemed to escape the eyes of the rest of the world. Some of the worst atrocities of the twentieth century was like a rancid belch in the central African nation of Rwanda. In spite of peace talks between the Hutus and Tutsis; the Hutus militia broke the pact and started killing Tutsis on sight. Almost one million people were brutally murdered in their homes, in the street at will. In the middle of the madness, an ordinary hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina(Cheadle)summoned the courage to actually save 1,268 refugees by hiding them in the four star hotel he managed. HOTEL RWANDA is a testament to Paul's devotion and love for his family and mankind. Also in this modern day classic: Mosa Kaiser, Joaquin Phoenix, Nick Nolte, Fana Mokoena, Mabutho 'Kid' Sithole, Kgomotso Seitshohlo, Simo Mogwaza and Hakeem Kae-Kazim. This is an outstanding motion picture and worth every minute of the the 2 hour 2 minutes running time. Kudos to writer and director Terry George.
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The Accidental Hero At Rwanda
sunwarrior131 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Hotel Rwanda is a that was based on real life events in Rwanda during the spring of 1994.The film stars Don Cheadle as hotelier Paul Rusesabagina, who attempts to rescue his fellow citizens from the ravages of the Rwandan Genocide. Actors Sophie Okonedo, Joaquin Phoenix, Nick Nolte and Jean Reno also appear in principal roles. The film documents Rusesabagina's acts to save the lives of his family and more than a thousand other refugees, by granting them shelter in the besieged Hôtel des Mille Collines. Also,it explores genocide, political corruption, and the repercussions of violence.The movie was directed by Terry George,who co-wrote the script with Keir Pearson.

Paul Rusesabagina is the hotel manager at the fancy Les Milles Collines hotel in Kigali. He is a Hutu, and a very successful businessman who smoothly greases the wheels, making powerful connections in all strata of Rwandan life. His wife, Tatiana is a Tutsi. She urges Paul to use his influence to help local Tutsis, who are being harassed and beaten with increasing frequency, but Paul will only use the political capital he's built up to help his own family, if and when they need it. Soon enough, the violence escalates, and the Hutus begin their genocide of the Tutsis. European guests and staff at the hotel are flown out of the country, and Paul is left in charge. He finds that his conscience won't allow him to watch as the innocent are slaughtered, and before long, the hotel has become a well-appointed refugee camp. Paul is seen as a traitor by some, putting his life in danger, and the predicament of his "guests" grows more precarious every day, but despite good intentions on the part of a journalist and a UN peacekeeping colonel, the rest of the world is not eager to intervene and stop the massacre.

This is a sobering and heartfelt tale about massacre that took place in Rwanda while most of the world looked away.The almost forgotten but all too real African genocide documented in Hotel Rwanda hits us as suddenly and as hard as it does Paul Rusesabagina, the accidental hero played so masterfully by Don Cheadle. Obviously,this is a solid film, but it is the truth that holds the power, not the direction.Also,it imparts the message about the cost of doing nothing.
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tedg22 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
There is a certain sadness, a certainty of sadness in stories like this, and the movies that tell them.

It reduces to us being made to care for a very few souls and then celebrate when our chosen people escape the fate of many others around them. The cost of this dynamic is straightforward: we have to make the others die, often horribly. It is a cheap sort of drama, the cheapest, the basest. It dehumanizes us because we become complicit in dehumanizing those that are sacrificed so that we can have a perhaps challenging but comfortable theater experience.

We'll see it in blockbuster movies, when some alien invasion or natural event kills millions (or billions) but we follow a few that escape. We'll even see it in the shootouts of ordinary magical gun movies where the others drop one per shot while our guy wondrously and gracefully kills.

But in this case, the tragedy is real. It really happened: a million people killed in as much time as a summer vacation: killed by neighbors with machetes. A million people killed because we stood by. The film does make a very central point, but not clearly enough. There are two warring tribes here, Hutu and Tutsi. But genetically they are identical. They speak the same language and culturally are the same. The difference? Belgium race theorists created the difference so that they could turn over the country to those they believed genetically superior, and that superiority determined by body and facial proportions. The accursed "golden mean." (The distinction until then was one of class.)

We do have Nick Nolte in the role of Privileged-Non-African-on-the-Spot. Joaquin Phoenix as a reporter supplements his role. They have the task of letting us know these facts and also that the genocide was easily preventable if a few troops had been sent in, which could have happened but for French and Belgian obstruction. No more than ten bureaucrats in Europe — whose names we know — killed a million while the local church helped.

With that sad background, we have a hard time celebrating the survival of our hero and those he saves. This is made harder because the drama is poorly constructed and executed. It not enough that the wife be a good soul, or that the hotel manager be resourceful, or that many cliffhanger episodes are pulled back from near disaster. It is not enough that two little girls are found at the last minute and whisked to an adjacent country with laws and safety. It is not enough. It almost is not anything.

The camera could have been used. We know how to do that. We had a camera on screen in a ready role. There could easily have been the power of effective cinema brought to this event, this reportage,

When you make a film that involves political events so significant, you take a responsibility. I'm on the fence as to whether the history has to be factually correct. But you have to allow them to matter. Because they do. They do.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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A document for humanity
jotix10019 March 2005
The madness one sees in this brilliant film is hard to imagine, yet it occurred in Rwanda. Terry George, the director, captures those terrible days in Rwanda in his film "Hotel Rwanda". Mr. George has to be commended for bringing to the screen a detailed account of a country in chaos. Working with Keir Pearson on the screen play, the director presents us with the horrors of what the country lived during the holocaust that befell Rwanda.

At the center of the story is Paul Rusesabagina, a courageous man who witnessed first hand the worst days of the Hutu rebellion and its bloody aftermath. This man alone was able to protect and to save more than a thousand Rwandans that clearly would not be around today, had it not been for his tremendous stand against people that showed no mercy, or wouldn't reason about what they were doing to their fellow citizens.

The performance of Don Cheadle, as Paul Rusesabagina, is worth the price of admission! This wonderful actor projects such an intelligence that it's hard to find in any American film released in 2004. Mr. Cheadle was right to portray this man; it was a role he was born to play. Mr. Cheadle got under the skin of the hotel manager and runs away with the film. It's hard to keep ones eyes from this commanding performance.

The rest of the mostly black cast is excellent. One must single out Sophie Okoneko, who plays Paul's wife with such dignity that she perfectly matches Mr. Cheadle's performance. Nick Nolte is fine as the UN Colonel trying to keep peace in a place gone mad.

Congratulations to Mr. George. With this film he touches us in more ways than we imagined. The unfortunate tragedy could well have been avoided if the international community would have intervened sooner, but obviously, it didn't even try until it was too late.
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A great inspiring story weakened by bad casting
dbborroughs7 August 2005
This is the true and inspiring tale of one man who tried to do something when his country descended into madness and genocide. Don Cheadle is masterful as our hero and he was deserving of an Oscar and not just a nomination. Its is thanks to him and most of the rest of the cast that we have as good a movie as we do. The problem, for me, with Hotel Rwanda is the casting of Nick Nolte as a UN peace keeper. Every time that Nolte appears on screen I'm pulled out of the movie. No longer am I in Rwanda but on a Hollywood set and big name actors are trying to act. Its distracting and it almost ruins the movie since it takes several minutes after each of his appearances to calm down enough to once again get lost in the story. Nolte aside, this is a great movie and should be seen , not only because its a record of what transpired, but also because its a damn good movie.
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A powerful reflection of the true horrors of genocide.
CinemaSerf12 January 2020
Don Cheadle is super as Paul Rusesabagina, the manager of a Belgian-owned hotel in Kigali in 1994 during the civil strife that saw Hutus relentlessly and ruthlessly persecute the minority Tutsis in Rwanda. Once he is directly touched by one such incident, he decides that he must do something to help and so turns his luxury accommodation into a refuge for hundreds of dispossessed and terrified people. With the help the Red Cross and some foreign press he walks a delicate tightrope trying to keep everyone safe, fed and watered. This is a brave and compelling story of the unimaginable brutality and ultimately compassion that stays with you long after you've finished watching.
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You're black. You're not even a n*gger. You're an African.
lastliberal22 November 2007
One of the great accomplishments of Terry George (In the Name of the Father, Some Mother's Son) in writing and directing this film was to show the atrocities being done during the 100 days of genocide without getting an R rating so that as many people as possible could see what happens when you don't have oil in your backyard.

Despite international news coverage of the violence as it unfolded, most countries, including France, Belgium, and the United States, declined to prevent or stop the massacres. Is that a surprise? There is nothing to gain for us. We generally only take action when there is something we want, like oil in Iraq.

Don Cheatle (Crash, A Lesson Before Dying) was magnificent, as was Sophie Okonedo (Aeon Flux), who played his wife. Seeing Nick Nolte and Jean reno was also a big plus in their small roles.

A story that needs to be told and watch over and over.
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A disturbing and unsettling piece of truth and cinema
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews31 March 2006
Ten years after the atrocities and genocide in Rwanda, Africa, a movie is made about the man who helped lessen the loss. The man who gave everything he had in order to save complete strangers. Who put his life on the line for his fellow human beings. I couldn't possibly put to words how hard it was for me to hold back the tears for almost all of this movie(which I had to, due to the crowd I saw it with). Some of these tears weren't ones of sadness... they were at the beauty inherent in this person. This humanitarian. With everything to lose and nothing to gain, he selflessly helped people who had nothing to offer him in return. This movie reminded me of Schindler's List. However, as one of the other viewers pointed out to me, it's far easier to distance yourself from that... with all possible respect to any and all victims of it, World War 2 ended over 60 years ago. What this movie depicts is just over a decade ago. Genocide. Which took place while us in the West sat far away, comfortable and not affected by it... and we did nothing. No UN, no US forces, nothing. This film is incredibly touching. I can't see anyone watching and not being emotionally involved. The plot is well-written and intriguing. The pace is perfect. It never moved too slow or too fast. It started adequately slow, but moved intensely later on. The acting is all spot-on. The writing is excellent. A great film that everyone should see. I recommend this to everyone who can sit through. Watch it if you get the chance and you're hardened enough to take it. 10/10
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"Schindler's List" meets "The Killing Fields" by way of "Casablanca" ; Cheadle's triumphant career best
george.schmidt27 December 2004
HOTEL RWANDA (2004) **** Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix. (Dir: Terry George)

"Schindler's List" meets "The Killing Fields" by way of "Casablanca" ; Cheadle's triumphant career best

What would you do if suddenly you found yourself in the oncoming path of a genocide? That is the question that South African Paul Rusesabagina faced ten years ago when the Hutu militia hunted down its Tutsi citizens determined to wipe out these 'cockroaches'.

Rusesabagina (played beautifully by Cheadle who deserves an Oscar nomination) is a mild-mannered yet savvy businessman who works as a hotel manager in Rwanda in 1994 who has put on blinders to the unrest in his nation that suddenly sets its all-too-true reality in his neighborhood one night when he witnesses one of his neighbors being dragged bodily from his home by a jeep of Army soldiers and then beaten when he resists. Life as he knows it is now over as this is the tip of iceberg to what events lay in wait.

Determined to save his small neighborhood and his family l Rusesabagina maneuvers one of the hotel's van shuttles crammed with his friends and family to the Hotel Demille where he works as a refugee site. Shortly thereafter the hotel is inundated with scores of fleeing Tutsis seeking solace and Paul must then decide what can be done to keep the bloodshed at bay.

On hand is the UN soldiers led by Canadian Col. Oliver (a world-weary Nolte doing some fine supporting work) who informs Paul that things are only getting worse for the most part and as predicted the black South Africans will not be rescued leaving the ingenuity and quick thinking of Paul to keep things on track until they manage a form of escape.

Director Terry George racks up the suspense and dread without resorting to any truly graphic images of the war at hand and the uprisings depict the machete brandishing hordes at a safe distance yet there is no doubt of just how horrific the proceedings at hand are in some truly unnerving moments including Paul's decision to get supplies in the dead of night when he encounters what he fears the most – that things in fact are only worse than he could have ever imagined.

Cheadle, one of our finest and most versatile actors working today, gives his portrayal of a decent, ordinary and extraordinary man that many of us would only aspire to be in the face of death and the threat of violence so thick in the air it would more than likely only cause paralysis to contemplate a next move in a morbid game of chess – a dignity that encompasses the entire film and spread to his co-stars, namely the stoic Okonedo as Paul's wife Tatiana who also provides some soul and tenderness yet a stern anger fueled turn.

Inevitably there are comparisons to "Schindler's List", "The Killing Fields" and even "Casablanca" yet the film stands alone in its defiance to what mob mentality is about and how prejudice is much deeper than what is on the surface. This is one of the most inspiring, harrowing journeys into fear and is one of the year's very best.
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