Paul Rusesabagina didn't intend to be a hero. But that's what he became in 1994 when members of the Hutu group in Rwanda began slaughtering fellow countrymen who belonged to the Tutsis. Rusesabagina—who was Hutu himself but married to a Tutsi—sheltered more than a thousand Tutsi refugees in the four-star European-owned hotel in Kigali where he served as manager.
It is an inspiring, heartbreaking true story, one well served by the terrific Hotel Rwanda and especially the talented Cheadle. He is quietly compelling as Rusesabagina, never showboating the way a lesser actor might. Watch his resolve as it becomes clear there will be no help from the West. Cheadle shows Rusesabagina using guile, wit and even bribes of whiskey to save those he could, risking his own life repeatedly because, as a decent man, he had no other choice. There are standout turns by Okonedo as Rusesabagina's wife and Nolte as a frustrated U.N. official. (PG-13)