Beyond the Gates

Critics Consensus

Complex, human characters and on-location shooting give Beyond the Gates palpable tension and urgency.



Total Count: 63


Audience Score

User Ratings: 17,616
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Movie Info

Two outsiders witness an onslaught of bloody Rwandan genocide in this fact-based drama from director Michael Caton-Jones (Scandal). In 1994, Joe Connor (Hugh Dancy) is a British schoolteacher who has volunteered to spend a year at the École Technique Officielle, a school in the Rwandan capital of Kigali. Connor's arrival in Rwanda occurs after the nation's Civil War between the Tutsis and the Hutus has dissipated (c. August 1993). Yet despite the official end of this well-publicized struggle, political negotiations between the two groups have reached a stalemate, and the Hutus begin systematic preparation for a mass-genocide of the Tutsi people (who have assumed political power via the establishment of the RPF). Connor has already seen signs of the coming conflict in the abuse meted out to Marie (Claire-Hope Ashitey), a Tutsi student who was one of his star pupils, as well as the bitter hatred expressed by François (David Gyasi), a Hutu janitor at the school. As the genocide erupts, with extreme Hutu factions slaughtering Tutsis by the thousands, the École Technique becomes a base of operations for Belgian peacekeeping forces from the United Nations. Most extended visitors from the West (especially America and Europe) flee Rwanda as the fighting breaks out, but Connor decides to stay, and in fact strikes up a friendship with Father Christopher (John Hurt), a Catholic priest who has come to the nation as a missionary. As Father Christopher serves mass and strives to offer solace to the Tutsis and moderate Hutus caught in the fighting, he and Connor use the school as a safe haven for Tutsi refugees; however, after five days of genocidal killing, the U.N. troops move out, leaving little hope for the people they were supposed to protect. Beyond the Gates was produced by David Belton, who helped write the film's story; Belton was a correspondent with the BBC who was assigned to Rwanda when the fighting broke out. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


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Critic Reviews for Beyond the Gates

All Critics (63) | Top Critics (28) | Fresh (53) | Rotten (10)

  • This is a spiritual drama, not a political one, drawing a thick line between our good intentions and the selfish choices we ultimately make.

    Jan 4, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Though less reassuring and not as dramatically coherent as Hotel Rwanda, it still packs a hard punch.

    Aug 11, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • Movies about Africa often fall into this trap. Righteous indignation is the exclusive province of non-Africans.

    Mar 31, 2007 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • There's little respite from the terrible history that this film retells just a determination (made stronger by the faces we see after the credits) to tell it, to be sure that history doesn't forget.

    Mar 30, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • A gripping fictionalized account of a 1994 incident in Rwanda that became a shocking emblem of the Rwandan Hutus' mass slaughter of the Tutsis.

    Mar 29, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • By keeping most of the action contained to the school grounds and immediate environs, director Michael Caton-Jones creates a claustrophobic atmosphere where fear can fester.

    Mar 23, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Beyond the Gates

  • Feb 16, 2009
    another film featuring the united abominations. i feel ashamed that my country is a part of the UN. john hurt is good in it
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer
  • May 06, 2008
    [font=Century Gothic]It would be the easiest thing in the world to simply write off "Beyond the Gates" as another tearjerker but it has got more things on its mind than that.(A very unsentimental ending does raise it to another level.) In telling the story about two white Englishmen, Christopher(John Hurt, who is fantastic), a priest who intially believes the situation in Rwanda in 1994 to be no more serious than a coup, and Joe(Hugh Dancy), a neophyte teacher, who give sanctuary to thousands of Tutsi's during the resulting genocide, the movie covers a lot of the same ground that "Hotel Rwanda" and the documentary "Shake Hands with the Devil" have already covered, especially in the impossible situation that the United Nations troops were placed in, under orders not to fire their weapons. But the movie turns a mirror onto its own Eurocentrism. Joe gets Rachel(Nicola Walker), a reporter, to cover their situation by mentioning the Europeans there and later that same reporter confesses her own racism in covering similar atrocities in the Balkans. [/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]All of which brings to mind the non-action that has been happening towards Darfur the last couple of years. Just as there is no difference between Hutu and Tutsi, there is no difference between black and white. We are all one people on this planet and must come to the aid of those in desperate straits no matter where they are.[/font]
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 19, 2007
    OUTSTANDING MOVIE!! Here's an amazing movie that depicts upon human tragedy that occurred in 1994 Rwanda. Highly touching story plot. Amazing performances by Hugh Dancy and John Hurt. Definitely a must-see.
    Leo L Super Reviewer
  • Nov 04, 2007
    Thematically similar to Hotel Rwanda this movie about the genocide of 1994 presents an equally hopeless situation as the angry mob gathers outside a school, (only temporarily) protected by UN soldiers, who refuse to do anything more than their mandate tells them. As the situation gets more and more dire, like a noose closing around someone's neck, John Hurt and Hugh Dancy have their moments to shine, just like the whole cast is really convincing. While some Christian analogies are maybe a little over the top, the movie is still extremely thrilling, frustrating and sad. Showing pictures of the crew members who lost someone in the genocide before the end credits basically makes it impossible not to be touched by this really powerful and important film, that would have deserved as much attention as Hotel Rwanda.
    Jens S Super Reviewer

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