Shake Hands with the Devil


Drama / History / War

IMDb Rating 7.6/10 10 3712 3.7K

Top cast

Deborah Kara Unger as Emma Baker
Roy Dupuis as General Romeo Dallaire
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1.01 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 52 min
Seeds 10
1.87 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 52 min
Seeds 23

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Craig_McPherson 7 / 10

A scathing indictment of the diplomacy of indifference

Based on the book by the same title, Shake Hands with the Devil chronicles the horrendous experiences of Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire of the Canadian Forces, who headed up the 1994 United Nations peacekeeping force in Rwanda during the outbreak of that country's genocidal civil war between rival Hutus and Tutsis.

Directed by Roger Spottiswoode, this Canadian production, filmed on location in Rwanda, serves as a scathing indictment of humanity in general, and the UN in particular, for turning a blind eye to the human carnage that took place in the former Belgian colony.

Hamstrung by UN orders not to interfere, his men given virtually no ammunition and instructed to only fire if fired upon, the movie chronicles the events that left Dallaire, a once proud and hardened career military officer, broken and teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

Unlike 2004's Hotel Rwanda, which chronicled the same events through the smaller story of Paul Rusesabagina, the manager a Kigali Hotel, Shake Hands with the Devil approaches the Rwandan tragedy from a broader perspective, with mixed results. While Spottiswoode places the focus on Dallaire's experiences, which range from playing military goodwill ambassador, to struggling to find ways to protect the innocent, and playing dancing pony to insulated and indifferent UN mandarins, the scope is somewhat too broad leaving the viewer feeling like an outsider looking at a holocaust from a distance, and through bullet-proof glass. UN officials as well as diplomats from France and the US are given cursory walk-ons, with little character development nor insight into their short-sighted actions. Instead, the audience is almost expected to approach this film with prior background knowledge about events leading up to the genocide. Without trying to appear insensitive, as a viewer, a better result might have been yielded if some of the copious screen time devoted to images of Dallaire and his men wading through bodies had instead been given to a closer examination of the motives (or lack thereof) behind the Rwandan abandonment on the part the UN and its principal movers and shakers.

On the plus side, Dupuis' portrayal of Dallaire is among the most eerily accurate renditions by an actor in quite some time. Not only do the two share a striking resemblance, but Dupuis seems to almost become the General in every aspect of his being. As a Canadian familiar with the sight of Dallaire in news reports and interviews, Dupuis' performance is nothing short of impressive.

Though flawed, Shake Hands with the Devil is still a powerful and must see film. As Dallaire himself says to his men, "we will stay to bear witness to that which the world does not want to see". If nothing else, that alone is reason enough to make time for this film.

Reviewed by c16031 8 / 10

Important docudrama of UNAMIR's fateful mission in Rwanda

I had read Dallaire's book a while back, and when I heard that there was a project to put it to film, I was very eager to see the results. Ever since I had seen "Hotel Rwanda", in which the CO of UNAMIR was a fictional character (played by Nick Nolte), I was hoping for a movie in which the real UNAMIR commander would be portrayed.

I wasn't disappointed. This film is a docu-drama that follows the events and the telling of Dallaire's book. No side stories here. Just the facts. The screen writing stuck to the book, as best as it could. Most deviations would be mistakes in interpretation, not artistic licenses. Dallaire, who had been lobbying for the film to be made for a long time, has explained that the producers have toyed with the idea of going to Hollywood to have it produced there. The upside was that the production could have enjoyed a bigger budget, but the idea was dropped because there was too big of a chance that Hollywood would have altered the story.

So the film's premise is very good to start with. The result is also very god. The the film is brilliantly made and directed by Roger Spottiswoode. Roméo Dallaire's character is very well played by Roy Dupuis, especially the scenes with the therapist. The cinematography is high quality, and some scenes are simply breathtaking (it actually makes me want to visit). The score is also of high caliber.

But the movie does have weaknesses.

It's a little too toned down. I know for having read about and seen documentaries about these events, that they were far worse than what is (could be) shown in the film. I understand that it was a delicate matter since the reality was very hard and could have steered away potential viewers. Apart from the church scene, everywhere else you are presented with toned down scenes. The reality was 10 times as big (numerous), much, much bloodier and much more akin' to a carnage. Dallaire and the other UNAMIR characters are pretty clean throughout the film. In reality, they were constantly bloodied. Don't get me wrong: I'm not seeking kicks or anything. I simply feel that the true appalling atmosphere is just not there, and that's unfair.

The civil war is not present. Although it is mentioned, and you realize that Kagame's RFP eventually wins it, the war is mostly absent from the movie. The facts are that UNAMIR operated amid civil war battles, that contributed greatly to its inefficiency. We are told that including battle scenes in the movie would have been too costly for the budget, and that the permissions from Rwanda's authorities were hard to get. Nevertheless, it's an important dimension to the story, and it's profoundly missing from the resulting atmosphere.

Some lines are just dead wrong. When asked by the CNN reporter why UNAMIR wasn't intervening to stop the carnage, Dallaire replies that he would be court martialed if he did. Although it might be the case, I understand that the real Dallaire hasn't - and would never have said anything like that. According to him, a commanding officer would never allude to the possibility of being brought up on charges, to explain his decisions and his actions.

The mission's NY headquarters. Repeatedly, Roméo Dallaire has mentioned that the film isn't true to what the mission's NY headquarters really lived . Maurice Baril, Kofie Annan (and I forget who the third member of what Dallaire called "the triumvirat", was) were much, much more stressed out than what is depicted in the movie.

The Belgian's departure. Although Dallaire was very grateful for the presence of the Belgian's paratroops among UNAMIR, he eventually grew a severe hatred for them when they left the mission, barely 2 weeks after the start of the genocide, leaving Dallaire more short staffed when he actually needed more troops. This doesn't transpire in the film. At all.

All in all, a very good film, with a good disposition for educating the people about UNAMIR's and UN's points of views during the rwandeese genocide of 1994. This was one of Roméo Dallaire's biggest wish. Now, I just hope that this movie is going to be well distributed across the world, so that everyone can have access to it, and hence fulfill it's destiny.

Reviewed by Nighthawk1 8 / 10

Very Good movie about a tragic event

This docudrama covers similar territory and the same event as Hotel Rwanda, being the Rwandan genocide that took place in 1993. The movie focuses on Canadian Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire (briefly portrayed by Nick Nolte in Hotel Rwanda), sent to Kigali, Rwanada to command a U.N peacekeeping mission. The U.N was overseeing a tenuous cease-fire between two feuding Rwandan ethnic groups, the Hutu majority and the Tusti minority. Ultimately the situation ends up failing and breaking out into violence under his watch.

The movie documents Roméo Dallaire's frustration with the U.N and subsequent guilt by refusing to get involved with what was going on and failing to stop the Rwandan genocide that he was witnessing.

I never heard of the the lead actor, Roy Dupuis, before watching the movie. He's very good in the lead role.

The docudrama took the time to explain what was happening on screen point by point in great detail which helped minimize confusion and clarify a lot of things.

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