Those expecting over-melodramatic violence of wars, riots, unrests and alike, kindly be disappointed, for what you’re about to see is an honest and plainly real retelling of an overlook horrible act of human inadequacy from one man’s point of view. Nothing more, nothing less, just about the right proportion.
HOTEL RWANDA centers around Rwanda’s infamous genocide breakout as seen by Paul Rusesabagina, a hotelier who lives his life as the way a man of his age acts: happily settled himself surrounded by loving kids and faithful wife, Tatiana; superbly manages his business by shamelessly admitting the acts of corruption as the key to his survival, which has led him to ignorance of his surroundings.
Not until the gradual tension of the war slowly starts rubbing his attention and changes him from a material-minded businessman to be an unconditional hero who determinedly saves the people from succumbing themselves deeper to those unfortunate conditions.
Your curiosity may focus on the fact whether such a theme that could easily be the source of inspiration from any cheesy made-for-TV flicks is, in fact, cliché. Thanks to Terry George who aptly decided to put the spotlight of the whole hype inside the hotel so as to make an objective point of view towards such a sensitive issue like this, what we get to see is one of the most profoundly humane war stories that ever made to the screen.
By being humane means that George allows the audience to see clearly the progress in the characters’ lives, how Paul and Tatiana are presented as regular folks who, along with their fellow countrymen, never expect such an occurrence would come to their established life, how Paul as a family man would be exhausting himself from head to toe saving his family by doing what he knows best, bribing, stealing and making the best use of any chance he’s got, yet such so-called indecency act is naturally justifiable and accepted at confusing times like that. After all, George would never let any scenes of his wonderfully conceptualized film here fall flat to become mere linking images from one scene to another as each and every frame of story here would complete one another to form a continuous storyline that, simply, move the audience to tears.
For that effect, Don Cheadle carries the major task on his shoulder, and gladly I say that he succeeds doing so. Not necessarily imitating the titular role who is still healthily alive and kicking, and in fact was the consultant of this film, Cheadle adapts the role by interpreting the character on his own and embodies his psychological behavior very well to the extent that we are convinced to see the painful expression on several emotional scenes meant to wrench your heart. His adopted African accent is impeccable, and the chemistry that he made with Sophie Okonedo is painfully real, enchanting us even to the slightest during their brief romance scene that provides a sense of relief throughout the film.
Okonedo herself puts a certain air of bravery in her womanly role, a role of a housewife that has to provide comfort to her children, her husband and herself. Such a role that seems to be destined as object of condemnation in most films proves to be a meaty one, thanks to her believable acting that slips along the scenes well without necessarily stealing the spotlight from Cheadle.
A one feel-good drama that will leave you feeling fulfilled without shedding unnecessary tears. You will be moved, you will shout in triumphant full of joy.