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Hotel Rwanda

Year: 2005
Director: Terry George
Writer: Keir Pearson/Terry George
Cast: Don Cheadle, Nick Nolte
Neatly tells the story of what happened in Rwanda in 1994 and pushes all the right buttons to present a dramatic screen story as well, all the more shocking because it was all real.

The dedicated family man and manager of a western-owned hotel, Paul Rusesabagina (Cheadle) courts a very trusted reputation around the local elite of Kigali, believing he has plenty of favours to call if the racial shit ever hits the fan, as it's starting to when the Hutu majority start inciting themselves to run out the cockroaches (the Tutsi minority - incitement that led to the murder by everything from guns to machetes of nearly a million people).

But when the governments of the world and toothless UN stand by and watch while the country descends into anarchy and violence (except for pulling out their own citizens), Paul and his people are left alone with only the corrupt military and police systematically hunting them down or accepting bribes for their safety.

So Paul gives refuge to increasing numbers of people fleeing the violence in the hotel as it crumbles around them, and the story is partly of the events that were the shame of every other government in the world and partly of the conviction of one man in the face of such fear.

It's high time the story of what happened there was bought to life in such lurid colour, and director George and his cast (particularly Cheadle) do so while striking a fine balance between fictional storytelling skill and documentary-like objectivity.

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