$4.99

Hotel Rwanda (DVD, 2004) Don Cheadle, Nick Nolte
[027616925121]

Don Cheadle gives a riveting performance as Paul Rusesabagina, the manager of a European-owned hotel in Rwanda, who created a secret refugee camp for the Tutsi people during the brutal genocide committed against them by the Hutu people in 1994. His efforts helped to save 1200 lives out of close to a million who were killed. HOTEL RWANDA shows this man's courage, while also capturing the political events that occurred between April and September '94. First, United Nations soldiers are restricted from fighting back against Hutu guerillas, even after the Rwandan president is assassinated and the country is thrown into chaos. But as the fighting worsens, all non-Rwandans including UN peacekeepers, Europeans, and Americans are evacuated. This leaves the Tutsi people defenseless against aggressive Hutus who are armed with machine guns and machetes. While working the system with strategic phone calls to powerful international contacts of the hotel, Rusesabagina also uses smart lies and power plays to hold off the Hutus. The morale among the refugees is low, but because they are protected from the inconceivable brutality happening outside the hotel's gates, they maintain a sense of hope. Powerful acting from all cast members, including throngs of children, makes this film touching and believable. Sophie Okonedo offers moving support as Rusesabagina's wife Tatiana, Nick Nolte shows knowing machismo as an American UN officer, and Joaquin Phoenix turns in a heartfelt display as a TV journalist. But it is the delicate treatment that director Terry George gives the insane, helpless situation depicted in HOTEL RWANDA which makes the film so penetrating. While the violence and gore of the genocide play a disturbing part in the film, the focus lies on the heroism of its protagonist and the strength with which he navigates under seemingly impossible odds.

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