Entertainment, Reviews

Shake Hands with the Devil, Brilliant and Disturbing

Posted on January 11, 2011
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This gut wrenching true story, Shake Hands with the Devil, reminded me a lot of Hotel Rwanda, but that isn’t a bad thing.  The film brings to light more of the atrocities, reasons for war and the intimidation the UN peacekeepers had to face.  Incredible good filming presents the era, country and it’s people realistically both in a period of adjustment and conflict.  I liked this film very much and recommend it highly to those who want a taste of Director Roger Spottiswoode suspense filled storytelling.

The movie centers on the appointment of Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire to lead the UN forces in Rwanda during a cease-fire between the Hutu and the Tutsis following a bloody war that had a high death toll.  With the county hair trigger away from a restart of another conflict, Dallaire tries to communicate with each of the divided factions.  He starts to make headway, until greed, ego, politics and animosity strike.

Shake Hands With the Devil makes a strong statement against war and violence.  It shows how intervention by outside countries can force people to take sides against each other.  In this story we find the reason for conflict between the Hutus and the Tutsis coming about with Rwanda’s Independence from Belgium.  With the overwhelming number of Hutus, the government was set up in their favor that started a battle ending up killing off a great number of Tutsis and put a lot of them in exile. This set the stage for the film and the final outcome.

The acting here is way above par, cinematography brilliant in all scenes of the production and direction impeccable. Spottiswoode gives a strong view of the lack of morality, wickedness and devastating results of the futile war. Cinematographer Miroslaw Baszak (Pontypool, Land of the Dead) makes his camera do tricks with the lighting in order to give the viewer a more suspenseful and gut wrenching view of the extreme action.  His ability to work with actors that have to act wild and scary makes the screen story very believable and terrifying.

The bonus features are good especially the Making of Shake Hands With The Devil.  Turn on the Audio Commentary and listen to Director Roger Spottiswoode and the real Lt. Dallaire comment on the production the second time you watch film.

Shake Hands With The Devil is rated R for some disturbing violent images and brief strong language.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Realism through brilliant filmmaking makes this humanity flick a hit. (A)

Starring: Roy DuPuis, Owen Sejake, Odile Katesi Gakire, Michel Mongeau and John Sibi-Okumu

Directed by: Roger Spottiswoode

MPAA Rating: R for some disturbing violent images and brief strong language.

Genre: Art/Foreign, Drama, English Subtitles

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Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 11 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at jdelia@acedmagazine.com