Monday, February 07, 2005

Saw the film Hotel Rwanda yesterday.

Yes, yesterday was the Super Bowl, America's "unofficial holiday", but it was possible to do other things beside watching 50 hours of pre-game crap, so I went to the movies and saw Hotel Rwanda.

The synopsis: 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, almost 1 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.

Hotel Rwanda is a riveting film. It put me in the mind of films like The Killing Fields or Schindlers List. True stories that follow a single man as he fights against odds to not only survive himself, but to also help others somehow make it through these unimaginable atrocities.

Don Cheadle (rightfully Oscar nominated) plays hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina who finds himself caught in the middle of the fight between the Tutsis rebels and Hutu militia. When the president is murdered after a UN peace treaty was signed all hell breaks out. As respected manager of the hotel that's housing the UN, Paul winds up taking in thousands of the Tutsis refugees despite the danger this brings to himself and his family.

As you watch this film you're anger about what occurred is torn between the two warring factions that care nothing for human life and the western world that ignored what was going on in Rwanda to the point that the UN pulled all non Africans out of the country, leaving the natives to fend (and die) for themselves.

Along with Cheadle's performance, there's an excellent understated role by Nick Nolte as Colonel Oliver of the UN forces. The UN won't allow him or his men to the ability to stop any of the violence. They, like the movie audience, can only sit and watch.

I did have one personal problem with the film, through no fault of theirs. The rebel group Tutsis is pronounced "Tootsie" and since I now work for Tootsie Roll, everytime they mentioned this group all I can think of are the Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops I have to work with daily. But I'm sure this doesn't happen with anyone else who sees this film.

Wow, another excellent film. I'm on a roll.

I give Hotel Rwanda a room service:

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