I had been wanting to see this movie for quite a while, and on Sunday I finally got to see it. It has been described as an African Schindler’s List, so my expectations were high.
Although I was not in any way disappointed, I didn’t find Hotel Rwanda as viscerally powerful as Schindler’s List, though it is undoubtedly powerful in other respects. (The sequence with the actual survivors at Oskar Schindler’s grave the end of Schindler’s List is the single most powerful and emotional movie sequence I have ever seen: tears were running down my cheeks like they never have before in response to something I have seen in a movie.) I felt as if something was missing from Hotel Rwanda, but I don’t really know what that something might have been. I doubt whether more direct scenes of the atrocities and violence would have made a difference in that respect, especially since the movie relies more on psychological effects than on graphical.
Even though Hotel Rwanda may simplify things, it evoked in me an interest in what happened in Rwanda as well as in the current situation in the African countries and their relations with the West, so in that sense it succeeded. The movie is engaging, and we really feel with and care for Paul Rusesabagina, the movie’s main character, in everything he goes through. Whether or not one thinks that Hotel Rwanda is a good movie, one cannot deny that it is a very important movie.