Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Devil Came On Horseback (2007) Film Review
The Devil Came On Horseback
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
They say history repeats itself because it has to, since no one listens. Never was this more true than in the Darfur region of Sudan, currently experiencing similar, catastrophic sorts of genocide that the world turned its back on in Rwanda just a few short years ago.
One man determined to make the world open its eyes is Captain Brian Steidle, a former US Marine who swapped his gun for a camera when he took a job as a military observer in Sudan. Observer is a particularly euphemistic term for the sort of activity he was forced to bear witness to - essentially a Sudanese-Government inspired movement to wipe the black Sudanese in the Darfur region off the map, as those in power in the north, back the Janjaweed (literally, devil on a horse) in a campaign of rape and murder.
Documenting scenes of the most depraved violence for six months, when he came back to the US, he was stunned to see how little was know of the country's plight and so became a reluctant 'whistleblower', giving his photos to journalists, speaking on Capitol Hill and even travelling back to the neighbouring country of Chad to gather testimony from those touched by violence that stole their loved ones.
Like Shake Hands With The Devil, which saw Canadian Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Dallaire relive his futility at being unable to 'rescue' the people of Rwanda, so we feel Steidle's pain as he bears witness again and again to atrocities he is powerless to prevent.
The still photos of the carnage are terrible and shocking but it is his testimony which carries the full burden of emotion as Darfur survivors treat him as a saviour - since they think America and the West hold the promise of an end to the violence. Carefully shot and edited by Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg, this is a powerful and heart-rending call to attention. The Devil Came On Horseback deserves to be watched and - more importantly - acted upon. For more information see the official site.Reviewed on: 04 May 2007