2004, Movies

Hotel Rwanda (2004, Terry George)

Well, I don’t want to get into too big a discussion about genocide because I will reveal how little I care for most of the human race. So, let’s take as our starting point that I’m a selfish asshole who helps allow people to die in far off places but isn’t phased by that very much.

Hotel Rwanda is good film. It’s not, however, an absolutely great film. Now there are many good things to say about it so I’ll focus on the few bad things. This is just nitpicking. Possibly some spoilers within. You’ve been warned.

Firstly, the story. I think it is important that this story is told because we need to see people doing good things and standing up / manipulating people doing evil. Yet I think the gravity of the conflict would have been better portrayed in a film that did not take Cheadle’s character as its focus. The film is inspiring but it also offers a slightly upbeat ending, something I think inappropriate for such a movie. The final shot is of live people. Yet soon after, text mentions almost a million died. This doesn’t fit for me.

Secondly, there a couple of attempts at making this film fit certain conventions. There are a couple scenes where the filmmakers bring in standard suspense cliches and drama cliches (particularly with regard to the music…listen and you’ll see what I mean). I think that weakens the movie’s affect. I think not using music in these situations, or using different music than a score designed to make us react a certain way would improve things.

Alright, I think that’s all my complaints for now.

Though similar to Schindler’s List, I think this is a better and much more daring film. Yes, I am biased against Spielberg, but just think about this: most westerners who watch this movie this year will have been alive in 1993; we’re regularly taught about the Holocaust and how we can never let it happen again, while we let Rwanda happen and we’re still letting this stuff happen all the time. What I’m trying to say is: the Holocaust is used when we want to condemn things at a distance. We perceive that we did something about it so it makes us feel…well, good isn’t the right word. And I know someone’s reading this and misinterpreting what I’m saying right now. I’m trying to think of how to be more clear. I guess I can’t, at the moment. So, I’ll just say it’s a pity this didn’t come out a couple years ago. Somebody should make a movie about Darfur.

Be seeing you.

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