Critic Reviews

71

Metascore

Based on 18 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Caton-Jones' refusal to pull back on showing exactly what happened to the 800,000 Rwandans who were murdered that spring means that strong stomachs and even stronger nerves are required, but the film demands to be seen by anyone attempting to grasp how -- and just how quickly -- genocide can occur.
91
In some ways the movie's straightforward style is more appropriate to the horror than a more souped-up approach would have been. With material this strong, sometimes the best thing a filmmaker can do is to stay out of the way.
83
John Hurt is magnetic as a Catholic priest running a school where terrified Tutsi have taken refuge, while Hugh Dancy, as a naive teacher, represents white commitment to black Africa at its most impotent and unreliable.
75
Hurt and Dancy are terrific in these roles, but the power of the movie is in the tension created by Caton-Jones on the same sites where this historical event unfolded.
75
The A.V. Club
Hurt steals scenes with a brilliantly nuanced character, a man bitter enough to make every line delivered to his peers a challenge or an accusation, yet experienced enough to present those challenges with an ingratiating politesse that only cracks in extremis.
63
New York Post
The film is occasionally heavy-handed, and the priest character is almost absurdly saintly, but there is an awful power to scenes such as one in which the Europeans are evacuated on trucks.
60
Variety
Although in many respects a more stylish, authentic, tougher-minded film than "Hotel Rwanda," director Michael Caton-Jones' respectable and well-intentioned Beyond the Gates (aka Shooting Dogs) still falls into the trap of filtering an inherently African story through the eyes of a noble white protagonist -- in this case, two of them.
60
Village Voice
Though hobbled by its anxious impulse to teach history to an audience that by now surely knows the basic contours of Rwanda's tragedy, the script apportions blame where it belongs (on high), while leaving smaller fry--including an admirably un-cute BBC journalist--dangling, however sympathetically, on the hook.
60
Though less reassuring and not as dramatically coherent as "Hotel Rwanda," it still packs a hard punch.
50
The greatest failure of the film, written by David Wolstencroft, is its inability to enter into the lives of the Rwandans, Tutsi and Hutu alike. The movie never moves beyond the tragic facts to show us the human face of either victims or perpetrators. All we get are white people shaking their heads and cursing Western governments.

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