Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Reviewed on 2010 May 11
Harrowing story of the bloodshed in Rwanda, and a hotelier who scrambled to save his family and as many Tutsis as he could.
Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle) is a hotelier at the Sabena Hotel des Mille Collines, who’s as smooth as the single malt he procures for his guests, knowing the status value of a fine Cohiba is more powerful than the actual cash he could get for the smoke. His main interest is keeping his family safe and comfortable, and trying to run his hotel (initially anyway) out of a sense of duty, not to mention a psychological defense mechanism when he sees the world beginning to fall apart around him.
The Hutus are overtaking Rwanda and declaring war on the Tutsis, calling them traitors and cockroaches and slaying them. Paul, a Hutu himself who only sees Rwandans and has little use for this tribal nonsense, manages to save his Tutsi wife Tatiana (Sophie Okonedo) and their children. Horrified by the genocide, he uses money, connections, and the hotel itself to save as many Tutsis as possible.
Cheadle makes this movie, depicting Paul as that rare combination of noble and cunning. These two things seem to be mutually exclusive in movies like this, but the Rusesabaginas of the world are an exception, and Cheadle was perfect in the role. It’s painful, but I think it’s something people need to see.
Four chocolate morsels.