Movie Review: Beyond the Gates

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Beyond the Gates, directed by Michael Caton-Jones, starring John Hurt and Hugh Dancy is a true story about the 1994 Rwandan genocide. It exposes the UN’s lack of involvement in the crisis, and puts a face on an issue that seemed so far away for many Americans.

Starring: Hugh Dancy, John Hurt, Clare-Hope Ashitey, Nicola Walker, Jack Pierce
Directed by: Michael Caton-Jones
Release Date: March 9th 2007
Genres: Documentary
Running Time: 110 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, disturbing images and language.
Distributors: IFC Films

I found Beyond the Gates to be very informative, since although I remember hearing my parents talking about it, I was really too young to fully understand the Rwandan genocide when it was happening.
This film starts out slow, but picks up about halfway through. Dancy plays Joe, a teacher, and Hurt is Christopher, a Catholic priest. Both work in a Rwandan school where they become witnesses to the genocide. They are forced to choose to either stay and help the people, or leave to save their own lives.
The power and inspiration in this film can be largely attributed to the realistic acting and beautiful cinematography. Many of the members of the cast and crew were Rwandans who had witnessed the genocide first hand, and had family members and friends killed in the crisis. I think that this fact brought a lot of heart and soul into the film.
Although Beyond the Gates is raw, shocking, and informational, it doesn’t get too entertaining or hollywoodish until the end. Although this is not a documentary, it oftentimes has the educational feeling of one. I think that this film won’t fare too well for mainstream audiences, but will be well-received by indie filmgoers and people who take interest in films about political and historical events.

/Film Rating: 8.5 out of 10

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