Beyond The Gates (2005)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox)
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Overall Rating 76%
Overall Rating
Ranked #3,673
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In April 1994, after the airplane of the Hutu President of Rwanda is shot down, the Hutu militias slaughter the Tutsi population. In the Ecole Technique Officielle, the Catholic Priest Christopher and the idealistic English teacher Joe Connor lodge two thousand five hundred Rwandans refugees, under the protection of the Belgian U.N. force, and under siege by Hutu militia. When the Tutsi refugees are abandoned by the U.N., they are murdered by the extremist militia. --IMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: January 08, 2008
Some stories only need be told once or twice. The Rwandan genocides were a particularly dark time for the world and the international community, especially the lackluster response from the United States. However, this material was handled and handled well by "Hotel Rwanda", which I consider to be the definitive film on the subject matter, one that garnered a host of Academy Award nominations. What made "Hotel Rwanda" so effective was how authentic everything seemed. The sequence of Don Cheadle driving the Jeep down the road with the bumps causing the vehicle to jump up and down -- one of the most unforgettable sequences I have ever seen. "Beyond the Gates" lacks any scene like that. But, it lacks a lot more than that. It lacks relevance.

The film tells the story of Father Christopher (John Hurt) and a teacher, Joe Connor (Hugh Dancy), who hide close to 500 Tutsi refugees in their encampment, under the protection of the Belgian forces and the UN. Outside of their gates, they can see countless Tutsi men, women and children being massacred by machetes. Men they once called friends have now turned into blood thirsty mad men. The two men try their best to make sense of it all, while trying to protect those in their keep, as well as themselves. Most of the film is really just a 2-man show, with Hurt and Dancy doing all of the work and getting plenty of opportunities to work their dialog scenes.

There just wasn't anything pressing in this film for me. Sure, the scenes of the Hutus hacking the Tutsis with the machetes were hard to watch and powerful, but we were given the same thing in "Hotel Rwanda" and that film managed to be both informative and entertaining. We were drawn in to the character story of Don Cheadle. We are not so invested in John Hurt and Hugh Dancy here. The end of the film I saw coming a mile away. John Hurt's character becomes to pious and too preachy (I know he's a preacher) and you know what's going to happen. I was wanting "Beyond the Gates" to be at least close to the same level as "Hotel Rwanda", but it was not. It tells a different story, just not a very interesting one. That's what causes it to fall short on so many levels.

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