Monday, August 14, 2006

Movie Review: Hotel Rwanda

I actually saw this movie last week. It's a movie I'd been wanting to see for a while, but just never picked up at the rental store. Now that I have Netflix, that really isn't much of a problem anymore.

I sat down to start Hotel Rwanda on Wednesday evening. I figured I'd get an hour or so into the film and then call it a night before bed. I really didn't know what the film was about, other than the fact it had to do with genocide in Africa in the mid nineties.

Here's the summary for Hotel Rwanda from "Ten years ago some of the worst atrocities in the history of mankind took place in the country of Rwanda--and in an era of high-speed communication and round the clock news, the events went almost unnoticed by the rest of the world. In only three months, one million people were brutally murdered. In the face of these unspeakable actions, inspired by his love for his family, an ordinary man summons extraordinary courage to save the lives of over a thousand helpless refugees, by granting them shelter in the hotel he manages."

The story follows Paul Rusesabagina as he protects his family, and the family and friends around him, as best as he can as the genocide unfolds around him. This was a very touching story and something I couldn't help but feel very guilty about. When this was occurring I was only 14 or 15, and not plugged into the news and internet like I am today, but could I not have known this was going on? In an era of CNN, 24 hours news, and the fledgling internet, was this simply ignored or was it still just out of the reach of the information age?

Nick Nolte's character Colonel Oliver summed up the lack of aid best when he said, "You're black. You're not even a nigger. You're an African." That summed it up for me. No one helped because no one cared. It was just a bunch of primitive Africans killing each other, not my problem. That was the mentality of the age. The Europeans created the mess when they colonized, and now that they were gone they weren't going to clean anything up, they were just going to leave it as is.

The movie is presented with an amazing clarity that leaves it easily accessible to even the most ignorant to world atrocities. You don't need to know the history for each tribe to know why the hatred is there. One tribe was held back (the Hutu) by the Belgians, the other (the Tutsi) was hand selected to rule over the country. That was it. Everything else in the movie was black and white. The carnage and violence played out for the viewer in the most basic sense of human nature, unadulterated hatred and death.

The scenes to show the carnage an aftermath must have been chosen carefully from the true like experiences of Paul. Although I'm sure the visuals barely compared to what he really saw, the director must have selected the right ones to show so that the carnage was easily accessible to the viewer. There would be no sugar coating in this film, just the truth.

I found this movie amazing. It's beyond what my movie reviews can do. I'm not good at the serious stuff, and this is one serious movie. I suggest you pick it up if you haven't yet.



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