The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2004
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 122 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Joaquin Phoenix, Nick Nolte, Jean Reno
Directed by: Terry George
Music by: Andrea Guerra, Rupert Gregson-Williams
Written by: Keir Pearson, Terry George
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 10, 2011
"A true story"
As his country descends into madness, five-star-hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina (Cheadle) sets out to save his family. But when he sees that the world will not intervene in the massacre of minority Tutsis, he finds the courage to open his hotel to more than 1,200 refugees. Now, with a rabid militia at the gates, he must use his well-honed grace, flattery and cunning to protect his guests from certain death.
In 1994 tensions between the Hutu and Tutsi peoples lead to a war in Rwanda, where corruption and bribes between politicians, the military and local rebel forces are routine. Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle), the assistant manager of the plush Sabena Hôtel des Mille Collines is Hutu, his wife Tatiana (Sophie Okonedo), is Tutsi, their love is forever. Paul is a hardworking, charismatic and loyal employee who understands the importance of establishing and maintaining relationships with key players in the event he may need them should conflict arise. How right he was. When the Rwandan President is killed Hutu extremists blame Tutsi rebels and begin targeting/killing all Tutsis, including women and children. Based on the true story, Paul Rusesabagina used every means at his disposal, which included ingenuity and the Hotel des Mille Collines itself to not only save the lives of his wife and children but to provide shelter for 1268 Hutu and Tutsi refugees.
I will never understand what drives the hatred that would cause the type of atrocities depicted in this film. Nearly one million people were killed in the genocide that took place in Rwanda in the spring of 1994. Paul Rusesabagina made a conscious decision to make a difference. He did so at great personal risk. This story needed to be told and I think that this film makes for a disturbing yet compelling drama that captures the essence of the conflict, the inaction of the governments involved and the bravery of a man who found himself thrust into an unimaginable situation. Don Cheadle is among my favorite actors and this in my opinion is his finest performance. The story is told from his character's perspective which places him in practically every scene. He nails each one of them. Co-star Sophie Okonedo is equally deserving of praise in the role of Paul's wife Tatiana. The solid supporting cast is noteworthy as well, with standout performances given by Hakeem Kae-Kazim and Fana Mokoena (George Rutaganda and General Bizimungu respectively). Honorable mention goes to Nick Nolte as the sympathetic U.N. Colonel. I bought Hotel Rwanda as a blind buy when it was released on DVD and have never looked back. It's a powerful and riveting dramatic film that serves as a reminder lest we forget.
The rating is for violence, disturbing images and brief strong language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Hotel Rwanda comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 35 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.
This video presentation has a filmic quality that doesn't always lend itself to razor sharp images however resolution is excellent as both people and objects are rendered with clear definition that at times is meticulously resolved. The color palette isn't a diverse one and sticks primarily to sepia and neutral earth tones all of which are naturally rendered. Flesh tones are spot on and lifelike in depiction. Contrast is nicely balanced which enriches both light and dark elements within the frame. Blacks are punchy with visible gradational stages that emphasize dimension. Sequences containing uneven/dim lighting reveal ample detail in shadowy backgrounds and darkened areas. I notice some minor flecks on the print but saw no signs of artifacts are unwanted digital manipulation. Images onscreen generally have a pristine quality that makes for a terrific looking high definition presentation.
The DTS-HD MA soundtrack reproduces dialogue that is crisp, tonally descriptive and well articulated. The front three channels deliver the bulk of the soundtrack and do so with excellent clarity and imaging. The surround channels and sub see occasional use and effectively support this predominantly dialogue driven presentation with ambient effects and bass reproduction that naturally reproduces the elements in the originally recording. All in all this is an excellent audio/video presentation.
- Audio commentary by director Terry George and Paul Rusesabagina with select commentary by Wyclef Jean
- Select scene commentary by Don Cheadle
- A message of peace: Making of Hotel Rwanda - 28 minute featurette
- Return to Rwanda - 14 minute documentary
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
Hotel Rwanda is a gripping and evocative dramatic film based on the true events surrounding the atrocities that took place in Rwanda in 1994. Don Cheadle gives a powerful performance as Paul Resusabagina, the loving family man and hotel manager, who stared adversity in the face and dared to make a difference. It makes its debut on Blu-ray Disc featuring excellent high definition audio/video that is a clear step up from the original DVD release. The bonus features include a pair of audio commentaries and a worthwhile making of documentary that looks behind the scenes. This Blu-ray offering from 20th Century Fox presents this film in its finest light and comes highly recommended. Enjoy!
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Samsung BD-C7900 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package