Starring: Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Nolte Director: Terry George The film: Big-screen, mostly factual, scripted treatments of major issues such as genocide set themselves up for scrutiny of their sensitivity. In the much-lauded Hotel Rwanda, it seems that unnecessary sentimentality is successfully kept at bay, which - despite its accolades and fine intentions - could not have been said about Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List. Rwanda's mass genocides are less widely known than those in Nazi Germany or Cambodia - one reason that director Terry George was determined to get this story out with his co-writer Kier Pearson. When the two heard of Paul Rusesabagina's story - the manager of Hotel des Mille Collines in the Rwandan capital of Kigali saved the lives of more than 1,200 persecuted ethnic Tustis by offering them sanctuary in his UN-protected hotel - they knew the extraordinary true-life script could spotlight one of the bleakest periods in African history. Rusesabagina's tale is all the more remarkable because he's an ethnic Hutu. Hutus form the racial majority in Rwanda and the national army began its systematic eradication of Tutsis in 1994. Ethnic Hutus found helping Tutsis were, at that time, committing a capital offence. His wife, Tatiana (played by Sophie Okonedo), is Tutsi, a fact that - through Don Cheadle's portrayal - we see becomes highly relevant when both the Rwandan army and Hutu militia arrive unannounced at various times to inspect the premises and hunt out members of the ethnic minority. The rampant corruption of officials, who could be bought with bottles of whiskey and crates of beer, is as shocking as the scenes of bloody massacres and the aftermath, some of which was happening just metres from the hotel gates. As the story unfolds through one person's eyes, there are a few moments of emotional perspective. But some focus on UN and aid workers and journalists present, coupled with a certain amount of handheld camera work, lends a very on-the-ground documentary feel to much of the film. The extras: A making-of feature, called A Message for Peace, includes interviews with Paul Rusesabagina and examines how the two writers coaxed some relevant personal colour from him. In the documentary Return to Rwanda, we see just how: Rusesabagina and his wife re-visit, for the first time, Hotel des Mille Collines, personally known neighbourhoods in Kigali and massacre sites in and out of the capital. This pre-production recce served as an important fact-checking mission. There's a full audio commentary with Rusesabagina and director George, and selected commentary from Cheadle and musician Wyclef Jean, who performs the film's theme track. The verdict: The viewer is easily lulled into believing that most of what he sees is through Cheadle's Rusesabagina's eyes, and it's a wrenching trip. All performances, from the leads to corrupt officials to Nick Nolte's powerless UN Colonel Oliver, are believable. The film sheds interesting light on the Rwandan genocide, which in the space of about one year resulted in an estimated one million victims.