The Good, The Bad and The Critic

Established on March 19th, 2012 and pioneered by film fanatic Michael J. Carlisle. The Good, The Bad and The Critic will analyze classic and contemporary films from all corners of the globe. This title references Sergei Leone's influential spaghetti western The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Hotel Rwanda (2004) Review

Title: Hotel Rwanda
Year: 2004
Director: Terry George
Country: Canada
Language: English

The Rwandan genocide was the mass slaughter of a social/ethnic class called the Tutsi caused by the Hutu majority in 1994. The widespread murder killed over a million Rwandans, 70% of the Tutsi population, over a 100 day period. When the genocide ended over 2 million Rwandans were displaced and became refugees.

The film Hotel Rwanda is about Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle), a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda.

Hotel Rwanda succeeds in conveying human tragedy on a scale that is both vast and intimate. The magnitude of the horror outside the hotel compound is presented only in glimpses, such as Rusesbagina stumbling upon a road of corpses, but these glimpses give quite an adequate frame of the ongoing madness and butchery. Dead is ever-present. Time and time again our "heroes" escape horrifying situations by the skin of their teeth. 

Unfortunately the film lacks a bold political statement, albeit Colonel Oliver (Nick Nolte) does give an angered line about how Europeans view Rwandans as "not even good enough to be n**gers". The real tragedy of Rwanda is how many lives were needlessly lost because Europeans & Americans wouldn't bother intervening. I suppose because the history was fairly recent, Director Terry George doesn't want to step on too many feet. 

The politics are soft-pedaled, as the picture focuses more on the perseverance of the hotel owner rather than the short-comings of powerful nations. Hotel Rwanda needed a big message to be considered "great".  Still, the straightforward narrative regarding the genocide is powerful and, by never sensationalizing each moment, holds a tremendous amount of truth. 

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