Hotel Rwanda

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Hotel Rwanda
Genre: Historical



Photography: Robert Fraisse
Running Time: 121 minutes
Country: United Kingdom

South Africa


Release Date: 22 December 2004 (Limited)

4 February 2005 (Wide)

Directed by: Terry George
Written by: Keir Pearson

Terry George

Distributed by: MGM Distribution Co. (United States)

Lionsgate (International)

Starring: Don Cheadle

Sophie Okonedo

Joaquin Phoenix

Nick Nolte

Hotel Rwanda is a 2004 British-Italian-South African historical drama film directed by Terry George. It was adapted from a screenplay co-written by George and Keir Pearson, and stars Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo as hotelier Paul Rusesabagina and his wife Tatiana. 


Based on the horrific true story, Paul Rusesabagina, a ordinary hotel manager has to house over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda.

Why It Rocks

  1. The film is beautifully understated, eschewing sentimentality in favor of raw emotion and letting the story tell itself. 
  2. The acting was flawless - Don Cheadle's breathtaking performance being a particular standout.
  3. The direction didn't falter, despite all the potential pitfalls of dramatising a recent and horrific conflict.
  4. The scenes which were hardest to watch in terms of tension and violence were often suffused with humour and hope.
  5. The director did a great great job in capturing the feelings of people facing uncertainty, horror, ridicules, anger, death, and waning faith.
  6. The line "I think if people see this footage, they'll say Oh, my God, that's horrible. And then they'll go on eating their dinners."
  7. The film accurately captures the western world and how it could not intervene after seeing scenes of women and children being hacked by machete-wielding Hutu militia.
  8. Working from a smart script by Keir Pearson and Terry George, the film contains gut-wrenching and emotionally trying moments not seen on the big screen since Schindler's List.
  9. Director Terry George handles everything in muted fashion, we never see the horrors firsthand. There's brief news footage of people being killed and one particularly searing scene when Paul and his bellhop Gregoire (Tony Kgoroge) find themselves on a bumpy road. The moment's made more horrifying because George unveils it quite matter-of-factly.
  10. Making a PG-13 film about genocide requires numerous compromises. Putting most, if not all, of the violence off-camera is one such bargain George made.
  11. Don Cheadle carries the entire film without a false note in his performance. He gets great support from Sophie Okonedo as Paul's Tutsi wife, Tatiana, and Nick Nolte doing his best work in years as a Canadian United Nations officer, Colonel Oliver.