Beyond The Gates (Unrated)
Recommended for ages 12 and over
Theatrical Release: 3/9/2007
Video Release: 9/18/2007
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter
Writer: David Wolstencroft and Richard Alwyn and David Bel
Producer: David Belton
Director: Michael Caton-Jones
Runtime: 120 min.
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Starring: John Hurt,
A teacher (Hugh Dancy) and a Catholic priest (John Hurt) in Africa find themselves caught in a heart-wrenching moral dilemma. In 1994, during the Rwandan genocide, the two foreigners must decide if they should stay and try to save as many Tutsis from Hutu killers as they can or if they should stay out of the conflict and flee for their own safety. Based on a true story.
This film, though containing some violent moments, is a powerful picture which will move most viewers. The story of genocide in Rwanda in 1994 is expertly executed by director Michael Caton-Jones, who brings to life flesh and blood characters we care about. These characters include the priest, Father Christopher (John Hurt), and the young teacher Joe (Hugh Dancy). In fact, the acting is one of the film's strengths. It is a story of staring death in the face, of fear, and of sacrifice. In a nice touch at the end there are photos displayed of some of the survivors of the blood bath in Rwanda, and we are told how they participated and helped make the film. We also learn about many of their relatives who were killed by the Militias.
There are scenes of violence in the film, with some blood and corpses shown, but the bloody scenes are not gratuitous. While the original version was rated R by the MPAA, this special unrated version has been edited in such a way that families including mature children can watch this honest yet horrific story. We award our Dove "Family-Edited" Seal to this picture and we commend the sacrificial theme, symbolized by a Christian character in the movie.
Read an interview with the producer and director of "Beyond the Gates"
Language: G/MG-2; Bloody-1; A man mouths a word which is not heard but it is not clear what he said-it has obviously been edited.
Violence: A lot of killing though comparatively little blood is shown; some blood on corpses and clothing and a pool of blood next to a corpse with flies around it; soldiers are seen going after a mother to kill her and her newborn and a slashing sound is heard.
Drugs: A couple of scenes of smoking and drinking.
Nudity: Some people seen in shorts.
Other: A Buddhist saying is seen on screen as it opens the film, which is that every man receives the key to the gates of Heaven, but the same key opens the gates of Hell; Although the teaching of Christ's death is given, there is a statement that he lives in every heart which some viewers will not agree with; a character lies in order to get some medicine for a sick baby.