Willa's Flic Pic: Hotel Rwanda * * ½
- Terry George
- Drama, 2004
* * ½
Paul Rusesabagina: All day long I work to please this officer, that diplomat, some tourist to store up favors so if there is a time when we need help I have powerful people I can call upon.
I've been fascinated with the intricate history of Africa for a while. Of particular interest is the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994. How and why did this happen? This story can be told from many view points and the one of Paul Rusesabagina is one that must be included.
In taking on this project, the film makers were faced with the difficult job of telling a single story at a climatic moment in time of an intensely complex history. The real story here is how the dedicated diplomat and professional Rusesabagina, manager of the four-star Hôtel des Mille Collines in Kigali and Hutu man married to a Tutsi, is affected by the chaos that ensues in the 90 some-odd days of the genocide. Rusesabagina has interaction with practically every faction involved in this conflict but the viewer gets confused. Who are they and what are their intentions. It's understandable. There's the Hutu army, Interahmwe, UN, French Army, United States, Hutu businessmen, RPF, Red Cross, Sabena... you get the picture.
More than half-way through the film I was beginning to wonder if there was going to be a climax to the story or if it was simply a telling of a sequence of events, more like a documentary. Eventually there was a climax and I felt like I was in a story again. This pace made the film feel a little choppy.
A generalized conclusion is made about the reason no one (pick from the list of factions) intervened. And when I say "the reason" I mean they gave one reason. I don't know if this is from Hollywood or consultants on the project but this situation is no less complex than the genocide itself and it's irresponsible to have treated it otherwise.
Like I said, it's a difficult story to tell - in more ways than one.
Don Cheadle is brilliant. I'm impressed with him in everything I've seen (Out of Sight, Ocean's Eleven, ER). He's just a joy to watch. More Cheadle, please.
I've only gotten started reading about this horrible event but if you're interested, I recommend the following:
The Bone Woman by forensic anthropologist Cleo Koff
Machete Season by French reporter Jean Hartzfeld
Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwanda Holocaust by survivor Immaculee Ilibagiza
Labels: Movie Reviews