This is a film with impact.
The opening voice-over is a speech on the radio, an anti-tutsi speech, broadcast on Hutu Power radio, over a black screen so as to really let us hear the words. It describes the flaws, reveals the prejudices in Rwanda, tells the viewer of the cockroach infestation the Hutu people will have to wipe out. This is then contrasted by the opening scenes; In Kigali airport we see Paul (Cheadle) collecting fresh lobsters to serve in the hotel where he works as house manager. It shows a bustling, growing, on the up city. But on the way back to the hotel we are introduced to the undercurrent of tension that is played out so well throughout this film.
And of course the whole time you are watching it you are so aware that it is a real story, and one that happened just over ten years ago.
With a film like this it is vital to have the actors that can pull it off, and I thought Cheadle was exceptional. His character started the film catering to generals and militia men, tending to the needs and wishes of the rich guests. Through the film he is transformed into a man concerned with protecting his family, one trying desperately to hold himself, an every one around him, together, all the while coping with the trauma and tragedy going on.
One of the top films of the year