7.8/10
1,487
14 user 43 critic

The Devil Came on Horseback (2007)

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.

Directors:

Ricki Stern, Anne Sundberg (as Annie Sundberg)

Writers:

Anne Sundberg (as Annie Sundberg), Ricki Stern

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5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

At age 27, Brian Steidle became a monitor with the African Union in Darfur, Sudan. He was completely unprepared for what he would see. See more »

Genres:

Documentary

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Arabic

Release Date:

11 April 2008 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Darfour, le diable arrive à cheval See more »

Filming Locations:

Sudan See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,143, 29 July 2007, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$132,309, 2 December 2007
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Break Thru Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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User Reviews

 
Poorly edited film about a man on a mission
6 May 2007 | by raseczSee all my reviews

To those who have seen this film and care deeply about Darfur this comment will feel uncaring, even heretical. Rest assured that I do care about Darfur, but I can't escape the fact that this documentary is not really about Sudan, it's about a person -- Brian.

Brian volunteered to be a military observer in Sudan to observe the cease fire of 2004. He witnessed many of the horrible events that happened that year. Many photographs were taken. Many are damnable of an uncaring Sudanese government. We are shown a few, but not enough. The film is very disappointing in that respect. It gives reason to those who claim that Brian's dossier does not constitute a strong enough case.

The first half is a rough chronology of Brian's stint in Sudan. It is described in words. What is on the screen is a random assemblage of footage that is flashed without context. Sure, dead bodies are dead bodies, burning villages are so, kids do play ball, Brian folds his tent, etc. The problem is that this material is edited so poorly that it becomes a mess of images. There is no focus. Images and words are often disconnected. We are quite often not sure what we see.

The editing improves when Brian goes to Chad. Finally we get a cohesive narrative that holds together visually. The short visit to Rwanda is also properly handled.

Overall it is a disappointing documentary. A missed opportunity to build a stronger case for saving Darfur and also a disservice to the work Brian has done to expose the crimes that are being perpetrated. The excessive focus on Brian and less on his photos ends up painting this as an ego trip.


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