Terry George's moving, dramatic film is based on a true story from the Rwanda genocide of 1994. Don Cheadle (pictured, right), plays Hutu Paul Rusesabagina, manager of a four-star hotel in the capital Kigali, married to Tutsi Tatiana (Sophie Okonedo, pictured). When the Hutus start massacring Tutsis, he gives refuge to over 1,000 Tutsis in the hotel and its grounds.
At first, he uses the hotel's stock's of beer, wine and spirits to bribe the marauding murderous Hutu gangs. But as stocks run low, he must use all his diplomatic skills learnt as a successful manager to save not just the lives of the Tutsis but his own and those of his family.
The film also stars Nick Nolte as Col Oliver, a UN representative in the capital who finds himself impotent and without any support as the world abandons Rwanda's Tutsis to their terrible fate.
Cheadle, Okonedo and the writers were all Oscar-nominated for this film while director Terry George had previously worked on the acclaimed Some Mother's Son and In the Name of the Father, both based on equally dramatic true stories.
Cheadle is mesmerising as Paul, a wheeler/dealer who realises lives now depend on his skill, while Nolte's portrait of the frustrated peacekeeper is one of his finest performances. There were some criticisms for the film's focus on such a small incident amid so many deaths but by doing so, like Schindler's List, the microcosm of the events in and around the hotel can better reflect events than a country-wide overview ever could.