Hotel Rwanda ~ Review

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Dec 16, 2001
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The following is a short essay on the movie & the topic itself. It contains opinionated thoughts and speculation and while most is factual, not everything is to be taken as the die-hard truth, just one mans opinion. I believe this will give a good outline of the topic & movie. (Contains no spoilers)

If you do not wish to read more on the topic, then please scroll down for a more linear review on the movie itself.


Everyone has responsibilities, jobs, duties, & obligations that they must carry throughout their lives. But when is it ok to turn your back on them? Is it ever ok? The United nations had to ask themselves this question not too long ago... They had to make a choice, one that would inevitably lead to the deaths of over 800,000 Tutsi people in Rwanda in a matter of months. And while the UN played ignorant, one man stood tall as the world turned its back, one man had the heart, the courage, and the intelligence to do something about it...But why?

"Radio voice: When people ask me, good listeners, why do I hate all the Tutsi, I say: read our history."

In 1994 the Tutsi minority were in dire need of help. Years of tension was undoubtedly building up into the throats of the Hutu, ready to burst. Damned by generations of opression & mistreatment by the Tutsi they decided to take it into their own hands, to an extreme, to a massacre. The battle cries were not those of men, but of a people driven into madness; like blood thirsty wolves on the outskirts of a slaughterhouse. Children & non combatants were not disregarded, the Hutu wanted to eliminate the next generation. No Tutsi blood was to run through the veins of the new world, they wanted to whipe them out, they wanted the Tutsi dead.

"Inaction is a weapon of mass destruction" - Faithless

The United Nations found it a wise choice to take a back seat to an apparent attempt at genocide. Informing the world of "incidents of tribal warfare" but not clarifying the situation to the people. Rwanda & more specifically Kigali (the beginning and focal point of the slaughter) was left stranded, broken & abandoned. But why? It is possible that the UN may have refused to recognize the situation because of just that... The situation. The Hutu and Tutsi people were indecipherable from one another, it would be like invading a country to fight a rebel resign that's masked in civilian clothing... It's too chaotic a battle to take control of. Had they done it, it could have been the equivalent of sending a marksmen into battle with an empty clip and a blindfold. Doing more harm than good. The idea is to protect the general mass, and without that option an attempt would seem futile. It is, however, the United Nations responsibility to atleast make an effort to stop such a massacre. Responsibility is not something you usually ask for but the UN did just that when they formed in 1945, adopting the Human Rights Agreement shortly after in 1948. The brutal killing in Rwanda broke the most basic law in this document, "The right to life". Something that was being stripped away from the Tutsi seemingly overnight, something that never... never should have happened. It's derelict of duty, it's cowardice in it's purest form.

"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflections." - Thomas Paine

In the midst of torched homes & machete skewed bodies, deafening fire & fearful panic, Paul Rusesabagina held his arms open in the wake of the apocalypse. A Hutu by blood, Paul (the manager of a very successful hotel chain) watched as his fellow bretheren ruthlessly slaughtered innocent women and children in the hopes of eliminating a group of people. Appalled & afraid he opened his doors to hundreds of Tutsi "coc[k]roaches". A secret refugee camp was the inevitable result. On his wits and wallet alone he managed to ultimately save over a thousand Tutsi people from discriminative butchery. Standing tall and firm in his beliefs & backing down to no one, Paul protected his Tutsi wife and children, leading everyone to safety after approximately 11 weeks of low supply and lower spirits, escaping behind Tutsi rebel lines. The madness coming to an end after 6 long months. Paul saw what the UN didn't, he saw the human side of things... He did what the UN didn't, and that's open his eyes to a problem that was more than just a problem, more than just an issue, more than just a bad splotch in history... He saw the gruesome murder, the inexcusable insanity, & the inscrutable death. Something the United Nations didn't want to see, something they didn't want to know. Something they didn't want anyone to know...

So when is it ok to avoid your responsibilities? When is it "ok" to turn your back on a people. When is it too much to handle? The answer: Never. What happened in Rwanda should never of gotten as far as it did. More people cried for Bubba in 1994 than they did for Africa and the 800,000+ butchered humans. No one cared, It was just Africa. Just a bunch of primitive, diseased, bare-footed, lion chasing, spear toting Africans. That's what the United Nations thought, that was the real reason the UN didn't intervene. The life of one western soldier was worth more to them than every single African man woman and child tortured and detained in Rwanda. They were on too high a pedestal to step down and help, too high on power and greed to listen to their hearts. Its with this saddening example that one must always remember, "Without love, benevolence becomes egotism" - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hotel Rwanda:
Hotel Rwanda is the story of Paul Rusesabegina (unbelievably well acted by Don Cheadle) & his responses and actions when he sees the world turn its back on Africa (Kigali in particular) in the midst of an attempted genocide. You will learn from the DVD introduction that Paul sheltered & saved over 1,200+ lives from discriminative butchery. The movie is by far my favorite movie of all time (a bold claim), surpassing Pulp Fiction with ease. It is a very deep movie, some critics complain that it focuses too much on one man & not enough on the Genocide itself. I do not believe the movie should be faulted by this, if you want a more documentary `esque movie then Sometimes In April is a great choice. But if you want a deep, compelling, powerful & inspirational film with top notch acting and beautiful art direction, you want to see Hotel Rwanda. Definately a sleeper hit, it is a serious wonder as to why Don Cheadle did not get the best actor oscar for his work in this film, you really come to relate and love his character, really believing he is Paul Rusesabagina. If you see this movie I can assure you, you will enjoy it. The music is nicely done and there are quite a few really powerful scenes. I definately left this movie wanting to learn more about the situation (remarkably, I wanted to learn!) & buy the movie as soon as possible.

Notable Actors/Actresses:
Don Cheadle
Sophie Okonedo
Nick Nolte

My Rating:

Please Note: I would ask any and all of you not to download this movie, but instead purchase or rent it. I'm positive alot of the proceeds go into the proper foundations and notably this movie never got alot of attention. You shouldn't rip from the underdog, with that said, watch and enjoy (hopefully).

Those who have seen the movie, comments anyone?

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