Shooting Dogs (15)

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The Independent Culture

Michael Caton-Jones partly redeems himself from the debacle of Basic Instinct 2 with this account of the massacres in Rwanda in 1994. John Hurt plays a Catholic priest, and Hugh Dancy a young teacher at a school, the Ecole Technique Officielle, where hundreds of Tutsis sought refuge from Hutu militias thirsting for their blood.

Screenwriter David Wolstencroft assigns the blame for the ensuing catastrophe to the UN's failure to act and the Belgian peacekeepers' decision to help only with the evacuation of white expatriates, though some have argued that the BBC, which financed this film, was just as culpable for its tardy response to the genocide.

Whatever the truth might be, the film's evocation of wanton brutality on a massive scale is shocking. While some of the dialogue creaks mightily, Wolstencroft writes a handful of scenes that are piercingly heartfelt and memorable.

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