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The Devil Came on Horseback (2007)

tomatometer

98

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 53
Fresh: 52 | Rotten: 1

The Devil Came on Horseback is both a strong primer on the complexities of the situation in Darfur and a harrowing first-person doc.

100

Average Rating: 8/10
Critic Reviews: 20
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 0

The Devil Came on Horseback is both a strong primer on the complexities of the situation in Darfur and a harrowing first-person doc.

audience

91

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 4,281

My Rating

Movie Info

The violence and tragedy of the genocide taking place in Darfur as seen through the eyes of an American witness. Using more than a thousand uncompromising and exclusive photographs taken by former US Marine Captain Brian Steidle during his role as a military observer with the African Union, the tragic impact of an Arab government bent on destroying its black African citizens is exposed. As an official military observer, Steidle had access to parts of the country that no journalist could

Oct 30, 2007

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All Critics (54) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (52) | Rotten (1) | DVD (2)

Filmmakers Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg chronicle his burgeoning activism in the face of the U.S. government's indifference as the government of Sudan works systematically to eradicate black Africans from the region.

January 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The gripping documentary The Devil Came on Horseback traces the change of heart that compelled Steidle to break military discipline in 2005 and offer his secret photographic evidence of Sudan's vicious ethnic cleansing to the New York Times.

October 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Devil Came on Horseback is a documentary account of Steidle's ongoing efforts to educate the world about the violence he witnessed as an unarmed military observer for the African Union in 2004.

October 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

On all counts, the co-directors of this persuasive documentary set the right tone.

September 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A dynamic, shockingly graphic story of the horrors of Darfur.

September 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With an estimated 400,000 dead since 2003, and 2.5 million Sudanese left homeless in the wake of the genocide, ignoring the story doesn't seem like a humane option.

September 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This documentary stares truth in the face in more ways than one.

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

To balance the chilling reality of the powerful having their unabated way with the miserably weak, the faces of carefree children mugging into the camera is a welcome balm on the wounds of systemic depravity.

July 23, 2009 Full Review Source: JWR

Clumsy filmmaking and political analysis do not detract from the horror of the events the film bears witness too, nor the importance of its message.

April 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

The Devil Came On Horseback sets out to shock. The images caught by Steidle's camera will stay with you long after his personal story - given too much time in relation to events - has faded from memory.

April 11, 2008 Full Review Source: BBC.com
BBC.com

Steidle's documentary evidence - shot where no journalist can set foot - makes for grim viewing.

April 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

A decent attempt at outling the crises but crucially lacking much depth.

April 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Powerful, impressively directed and desperately moving documentary that highlights one of the world's most vicious injustices and the shocking refusal of Western governments to do anything about it.

April 10, 2008 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

This documentary tells us two things. It's very bad in the Darfur region of the Sudan and the U.S. isn't doing a damned thing to stop the genocide there.

January 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Gripping, heartfelt and eye-opening film.

December 24, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

we feel Steidle's inner turmoil as he cries uncontrollably at the thought of the genocide he was powerless to prevent

December 18, 2007
Manhattan Movie Magazine

In a way, "Devil" is two horror stories, the first is what Steidle saw in Darfur, the second what he saw when he left.

October 26, 2007 Full Review
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

When you see a hero like Steidle feeling guilty because he couldn't do more -- well, it's hard to feel anything but admiration for him and the movie.

October 25, 2007 Full Review Source: EricDSnider.com
EricDSnider.com

The collection of images that make up the first forty-odd minutes of the film are among the most horrifying I have seen in all my life.

September 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

The film's approach suits an audience broader than the usual documentary crowd, though it's worth mentioning that those pictures can really stay with you.

September 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Directors Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg have found an impressive protagonist in Steidle, but they would have done better to expand the scope of the documentary beyond his personal recollections.

September 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Audience Reviews for The Devil Came on Horseback

If you already felt the devastation in Darfur was too complex to easily change, this documentary won't help. We follow a former Marine who, by a damning stroke of fate, found himself with the duty to document each case of genocide. Captain Steidle, raised in a strong military family, came in as a former Marine who had seen his share of combat. He's the only American who witnessed, for 6 months, the merciless violence. It has broken him, and in one scene we see him grieving, overwhelmed by his powerlessness to stop, even just once, what he had seen. After we see him testify to us through the media and meet with our leaders, it seems by the film's end that everyone is powerless, and we all just have to watch it.
December 29, 2012
Matthew Slaven

Super Reviewer

An excellent, well-shot, and cautious documentary which has some truly shocking, and heart-wrenching, moments. It speaks powerfully not only about its own subject, but the conspicuous and utterly horrifying lack of attention it was given, all seen through intensely personal moments.

Easy to comprehend, but daunting to fully understand, this documentary has no answers, only emotions and images... and that is what makes it powerful. Like him, we are forced to sit and watch helplessly by the sidelines, and we can easily understand his frustration and pain.
April 6, 2008
dhetteix

Super Reviewer

if you want to know more about the situation in darfur this is a great place to start. told by a former marine who volunteered as an unarmed observer in sudan and witnessed all out genocide by the government backed janjaweed militia. it's as if we had the chance to redeem ourselves for rwanda and failed yet again. total respect to brian steidle who fought to get this story out and wake up the world to another ethnic cleansing. this is a horrific and very important film. if you want to see the face of evil, welcome to hell
January 3, 2008
rubystevens
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"The Devil Came on Horseback" is a powerfully damning documentary about Brian Steidle, a retired U.S. Marine Captain, who in 2004 signed up to monitor the ceasefire of the 20-year civil war in Sudan between the Arab north and the Christian and Animist south. The Arabs have most of the power in the country, while the people of the western Darfur region who are represented by two rebel groups wanted a role in governing their country. Following a rebel attack, the Janjaweed militia aided by the government initiated a genocide in Darfur which was intent on wiping out all the black Africans in the region. Steidle volunteered to monitor the situation armed with only a camera and a notepad. [/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]The film puts the atrocities in Sudan in focus while also perfectly capturing Steidle's frustration at not being able to help actively. But his photographs which are eventually published do shed light on these atrocities.(His camera accomplishes much more than a gun ever could.) Even then, the world mostly stood by and watched. Also, there is a very keen sense of how Steidle's life, as an accidental activist, has changed since he had been given a mission.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]What is needed in the world today is a change in the priorities of foreign policy away from one of political convenience and profit(Sudan is rich in oil) to one favoring human rights. We are all one people on this planet, and are deeply responsible for each other. In general, the world needs to embrace love instead of fear.[/font]
July 29, 2007
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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