True stories are often far more amazing than ones that the writers in Hollywood make up, and it is films like Hotel Rwanda that prove this. While some films based on true stories feel the need to amp up the action or intensity, in Hotel Rwanda none of this is necessary. It is the simple emotional intensity from each character which drives the film into becoming one of the most inspirational films in the last few years.
Based on the story of one man and the hotel he works at during the 1994
conflict, perhaps the most effective message portrayed is the sense of confusion and indifference by nearly everyone involved. The entire situation was seemingly over something so petty and ridiculous that it only made sense when looked at through the eyes of extreme hatred. Don Cheadle gives the remarkable, award winning, performance of Paul Rusesabagina, a man who will do whatever is necessary to save his family, incidentally saving over a thousand others along the way. Using the hotel in which he works, Paul does his best to keep the refugees safe, providing food, safety, and whatever else is within his powers. Rwanda
Hotel Rwanda does the film its greatest favor by not making Paul out to be a saint. Although he does a great dealt to ensure others safety, it is made absolutely clear that his main objective is to keep his own family safe. Paul’s journey is a difficult one, filled with many attempts to work both sides to get what is needed for survival, and a great deal of discouragement as the world refuses to acknowledge or get involved in the horrible massacre he is living through. Perhaps one of the truest statements in the film comes from American journalist played by Joaquin Phoenix, who says that people will watch what is happening on the evening news and return to their dinners. This complacency was all too familiar, but Paul refuses to lose hope, also never depending on others to do everything for him.
The Blu-ray for Hotel Rwanda is well produced, transferring over the clarity in the film’s images which will almost guarantee a powerful viewing of this emotional film. Some of the more significant special features deal more with the actual events than they do the film, such as a documentary entitled “Return to Rwanda” and audio commentary with Paul Rusesabagina along with director Terry George and musician Wyclef Jean. There is also a making of documentary as well as some commentary by actor Don Cheadle, but these were all previously released on the film’s initial DVD release.