Hotel Rwanda

Hotel Rwanda

4.7 14
Director: Terry George

Cast: Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Joaquin Phoenix


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Hotel Rwanda tackles one of the most horrifically ugly events in recent history, when the Hutu extremists of Rwanda initiated a terrifying campaign of genocide, massacring hundreds of thousands of minority Tutsis (who had been given power by the departed Belgian colonists), while the rest of the world looked on and did nothing. Don Cheadle stars as PaulSee more details below


Hotel Rwanda tackles one of the most horrifically ugly events in recent history, when the Hutu extremists of Rwanda initiated a terrifying campaign of genocide, massacring hundreds of thousands of minority Tutsis (who had been given power by the departed Belgian colonists), while the rest of the world looked on and did nothing. Don Cheadle stars as Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager at the fancy Les Milles Collines hotel in Kigali. Paul 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 (Sophie Okonedo of Aeon Flux), 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 (Joaquin Phoenix) and a UN peacekeeping colonel (Nick Nolte), the rest of the world is not eager to intervene and stop the massacre. Hotel Rwanda was directed by Irish filmmaker Terry George (Some Mother's Son), who co-wrote the script with Keir Pearson.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
In 1994, a million Rwandans were slaughtered by their countrymen while the rest of the world looked in the other direction. You wouldn’t think an uplifting movie could be made about such a shameful episode, but that’s precisely what writer-director Terry George has accomplished. Hotel Rwanda unfolds against the blood-spattered backdrop of that genocidal massacre, although the film’s focus remains fixed on one man: hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle, in an Oscar-nominated performance), who runs the four-star Hotel Des Milles Collines in Kigali, the capital city. Rusesabagina, by birth a member of the ruling Hutu tribe, has a more cosmopolitan background than most of his people and therefore recoils at the systematic decimation of the Tutsi tribe. When it becomes apparent that the United Nations will not intervene, he assumes responsibility for the 1,200 Tutsi refugees that have flocked to his hotel. Cheadle is absolutely riveting at Rusesabagina, a resourceful pragmatist who uses the diplomatic skills of his profession to mollify a murderous Hutu general and resorts to innumerable deceptions to conceal his “guests.” Also hugely effective in their roles are Nick Nolte, playing a UN peacekeeper frustrated by bureaucratic indifference, and Sophie Okonedo, as Paul’s Tutsi wife, who is forced to flee for her own safety as her husband risks his life. The film depicts all the desperate but ingenious methods Rusesabagina employs to safeguard the refugees: lies, bribery, and even blackmail. He’s not a superhero, just a man whose conscience compels him to perform heroic acts. Watching him make the attempt is what makes Hotel Rwanda so uplifting, and filmmaker George deserves great credit for bringing this amazing story to the screen with such passion and dignity.
All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Terry George's powerful Hotel Rwanda has more than a passing similarity to Schindler's List. Both films feature a smooth-talking protagonist who gradually develops a powerful conscience, to the point where he will risk his own life to save strangers. Both films also focus on a relatively uplifting and hopeful side story to an overwhelming real-life tragedy. In the end, though, Hotel Rwanda is not about one great man. George conveys the horrific scale and barbarity of the Rwandan massacre with grace and efficiency, while eschewing graphic violence, and showing mainly its results. The redoubtable Don Cheadle delivers a passionate yet nuanced performance. But perhaps the film's greatest strength is that it manages to convey the context, both historical and global, in which these events took place without relying heavily on titles or obvious exposition. A simple scene in which Paul Rusesabagina (Cheadle) explains the origins of the conflict between Hutus and Tutsis to a reporter (Joaquin Phoenix) effectively conveys the situation's roots in colonialism and its contemporary absurdity, heightening the sense of tragedy. Phoenix's reporter has a key line later in the film, when he tells Paul that people will look at the terrible images he's captured on videotape that day, "say, 'Oh, that's horrible,' and then go back to their dinners." Hotel Rwanda is not a perfect drama. It's disappointingly conventional in its use of music, for example, and there is at least one moment of high drama that seems tasteless in contriving suspense. But it's an important film nevertheless that brings this critical juncture in recent history to vibrant life, and boldly implicates its audience in the tragedy it depicts, in an effort to make us examine our own responsibility as citizens of the world.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert

The film works not because the screen is filled with meaningless special effects, formless action and vast digital armies, but because Cheadle, Nolte and the filmmakers are interested in how two men choose to function in an impossible situation. Because we sympathize with these men, we are moved by the film.
New York Post - Lou Lumenick

One of the year's best.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

A message for peace: Making Hotel Rwanda documentary ; Return to Rwanda; Selected scenes commentary by Don Cheadle; Audio commentary by director Terry George and the real-life subject of the film, Paul Rusesabagina, with commentary by musician Wyclef Jean

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Don Cheadle Paul Rusesabagina
Sophie Okonedo Tatiana Rusesabagina
Joaquin Phoenix Jack
Nick Nolte Colonel Oliver
Jean Reno Actor
Leleti Khumalo Actor
Desmond Dube Actor
Mothusi Magano Actor

Technical Credits
Terry George Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Afro Celt Sound System Score Composer
Sam Bhembe Executive Producer
Johnny Breedt Production Designer
Tony Burrough Production Designer
Ruy Filipe Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert Fraisse Cinematographer
Naomi Geraghty Editor
Andrea Guerra Score Composer
A. Kitman Ho Producer
Martin F. Katz Executive Producer
John Midgley Sound/Sound Designer
Luigi Musini Co-producer
Keir Pearson Screenwriter
Bridget Pickering Co-producer
Duncan Reid Executive Producer
Rupert Gregson-Williams Score Composer
Paul Rusesabagina Consultant/advisor
Hal Sadoff Executive Producer

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