The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Hotel Rwanda (2005)

This film, directed by Terry George and starring Don Cheadle, Nick Nolte and Sophie Okonedo, is nothing less than an African Schindler's List.  Not quite in the running that that Spielbergian masterpiece, yet and still it is honest, hard, brutal, inspiring, old-fashioned film making, and the fact that it was made at all, let alone that it has achieved the aclaim it has, gives me hope.  The story deals with a good and honest man, the manager of a four-star hotel in the East African country of Rwanda.  Caught up in a post-Colonial battle between two ethnic groups, his hotel becomes a refugee camp, and he plays an incredibly dangerous game attempting to preserve the lives of hundreds of helpless victims of the conflict.  The European powers virtually abandoned them (and, frankly, listening to various right-wing friends prate on about how we're in Iraq to quell a brutal dictatorship when a few years back they were arguing that America shouldn't play cop in Africa...makes me want to vomit) and it was only the personal relationships gained through years of obsequious politeness that offered any hope of salvation at all.  Wrenching, horrifying, uplifting.  A superb film, with a devastating, quiet performance by the wonderful Don Cheadle.  Easily an "A."

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