Check into Hotel Rwanda

Movie Review

Paul Rusesabagina was the manager of a luxury hotel when Hutu nationalists began murdering their Tutsi countrymen during the Rwandan civil war 10 years ago. “Hotel Rwanda” focuses on Rusesabagina’s personal challenge to stay alive, protect his family, and save hundreds of refugees within the hotel. The main tool he used was love.

American Don Cheadle, in the main role, is an understated marvel. Both the director and the real-life hero praised the performances of the actors.

Although the film emphasizes the personal story, the background reality of mass genocide conducted in full view of an uncaring world cannot be ignored. At the preview in Dallas, the reality came home when a member of the audience thanked the filmmakers because he had lost his three Tutsi brothers and his father in the Rwandan carnage.

“Hotel Rwanda” opens nationwide next month. Writer-director Terry George explained that the film’s modest budget precludes a major marketing campaign. He emphasized that the movie’s success depends on recommendations from viewers. This is mine: Go see “Hotel Rwanda.”

— Jim Lane