Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Caton-Jones' refusal to pull back on showing exactly what happened to the 800,000 Rwandans who were murdered that spring means that strong stomachs and even stronger nerves are required, but the film demands to be seen by anyone attempting to grasp how -- and just how quickly -- genocide can occur.
  2. In some ways the movie's straightforward style is more appropriate to the horror than a more souped-up approach would have been. With material this strong, sometimes the best thing a filmmaker can do is to stay out of the way.
  3. 90
    Tense and gut-wrenching, Beyond the Gates is a horrifying story told with grace and compassion.
  4. 90
    Critics have faulted this 2005 British feature about the Rwandan genocide for focusing on a couple of white characters instead of the 800,000 Tutsis who were slaughtered, but such easy judgments miss the point entirely: this is a spiritual drama, not a political one, drawing a thick line between our good intentions and the selfish choices we ultimately make.
  5. If Beyond the Gates were merely a well-intentioned bore, the reality might seem jarring. As is, the coda fits and feels like the only possible ending--proof that surviving to help tell the story of a genocidal nightmare is the best revenge.
  6. John Hurt is magnetic as a Catholic priest running a school where terrified Tutsi have taken refuge, while Hugh Dancy, as a naive teacher, represents white commitment to black Africa at its most impotent and unreliable.
  7. A gripping, terrifying, profoundly touching human drama that's definitely worth seeing.
  8. Hurt and Dancy are terrific in these roles, but the power of the movie is in the tension created by Caton-Jones on the same sites where this historical event unfolded.
  9. 75
    Hurt steals scenes with a brilliantly nuanced character, a man bitter enough to make every line delivered to his peers a challenge or an accusation, yet experienced enough to present those challenges with an ingratiating politesse that only cracks in extremis.
  10. The film may employ the well-worn tradition of filtering African stories through the experiences of Europeans, but they use the conceit for some penetrating revelations.
  11. 63
    The film is occasionally heavy-handed, and the priest character is almost absurdly saintly, but there is an awful power to scenes such as one in which the Europeans are evacuated on trucks.
  12. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Though hobbled by its anxious impulse to teach history to an audience that by now surely knows the basic contours of Rwanda's tragedy, the script apportions blame where it belongs (on high), while leaving smaller fry--including an admirably un-cute BBC journalist--dangling, however sympathetically, on the hook.
  13. Though less reassuring and not as dramatically coherent as "Hotel Rwanda," it still packs a hard punch.
  14. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Although in many respects a more stylish, authentic, tougher-minded film than "Hotel Rwanda," director Michael Caton-Jones' respectable and well-intentioned Beyond the Gates (aka Shooting Dogs) still falls into the trap of filtering an inherently African story through the eyes of a noble white protagonist -- in this case, two of them.
  15. The greatest failure of the film, written by David Wolstencroft, is its inability to enter into the lives of the Rwandans, Tutsi and Hutu alike. The movie never moves beyond the tragic facts to show us the human face of either victims or perpetrators. All we get are white people shaking their heads and cursing Western governments.
  16. 50
    Sadly, this is the sort of movie in which the white Europeans do all the talking and worrying with each other. The Africans, for the most part, are either terrified, cowering, wincing masses or corpses strewn in the dirt.
  17. 50
    Beyond the Gates bears witness to the worst of the worst, but these days, and far more importantly, so does YouTube.

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