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(2007), NR [R-NR*] (110.1min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
June 24, 2012
June 26, 2012

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2007), NR [R-NR*] ... It is unnerving that man can stoop to such hatred

Production (US): IFC Films, Adirondack Pictures, BBC Films, UK Film | Council
Distribution (US): Fox Home Entertainment
Director(s): Michael Caton-Jones
Producer(s): David Belton, Pippa Cross, Jens Meurer, David M. Thompson, Paul Trubits, Ruth Caleb, Karsten Stoter, Richard Alwyn
Screenplay by: David Wolstencroft
Based on: Story by Richard Alwyn, David Belton
Cinematography/Camera: Ivan Strasburg
Music: Dario Marianelli
Film Editing: Christian Lonk
Casting: Karen Stewart, Hope Azeda
Production Design: Bertram Strauss
Viewed on Fox Home Entertainment DVD

Beyond the Gates is a film about the 1994 machete slaughter of over 800,000 Rwandans including children and babies by extremist radical militants. Does it really matter why? Can there be "justification" for such genocide?

The Rwandan Hutu majority persecuted the Tutsi minority. It was by pressure from the West that the government run by the Hutu share power with the Tutsis. This set a slowly growing ethnic fire among the people. The Tutsi wanted nothing more than the Hutu to become slaves for the Tutsi. Eventually the United Nations deployed a small armed force in the capital city Kigali to "monitor" the fragile peace. The UN weapons were strictly for defensive purposes if fired upon. To even use the machines guns the UN brought required approval of the Secretary General.

The original version of this film was rated R by the MPAA for strong violence, disturbing images and language. This version by Fox Pictures available through is sanitized of the language but the strong violence and disturbing images are still there. With a final score of 47, even after sanitization this film is still R-equivalent. It is G-equivalent in Sexual Immorality (S) and Offense to God (O), PG-13 equivalent in Impudence/Hate (I) but R-equivalent in Wanton Violence/Crime (W), Drugs/Alcohol (D) and Murder/Suicide. That this film is depiction and portrayal of actual events does not excuse the negative influence of the content.

I do not know if I can impart to you the depth and extent of exceptionally disturbing and gut-wrenching acts of inter-ethnic hatred portrayed by this film. The performers as well as the script are most effective at it. It is unnerving that man can stoop to such hatred.

For 30 years Catholic Father Christopher (portrayed by John Hurt) operated the Ecole Technical College near Kigali with the help of idealistic English teacher Joe Connor (portrayed by Hugh Dancy). After some footage of peace and plenty, ethnic friction began to ooze through the land. Hutu military and militia presence became more and more prevalent. Brutality against the Tutsi started to become commonplace. Hutu government officials started lists of Tutsi people and their addresses. Reports of murder of Tutsis by Hutu thugs with machetes, to which the Hutu police turned a blind eye, began to surface. Then on April 6th, 1994 by a coup the Hutu president was killed at the airport. The UN forces readied for assault as sounds of military ordnance began to fill the night air.

In the dark of night hundreds of Tutsi refugees from the melee in Kigali appear at the gates of the Ecole Technical College where the UN forces are based. Against the judgment of the UN commander Captain Charles Delon (Dominique Horwitz), Father Christopher and teacher Joe decide to let the refugees on school property to protect them from the Hutu who soon swarmed outside the school gates, all of them with spiked clubs or machetes and some with rifles, churning and chanting, waiting for an opportunity to break into the school and kill the Tutsis. Father Christopher and Joe find themselves amidst a devouring genocide.

One of the most gut-wrenching parts of the film was when the UN forces were ordered to withdraw to the airport, leaving the 2,500 Tutsis vulnerable to the machete-wielding Hutu extremists and militia. Additional scenes of despair were of the bloodied bodies of murdered Tutsi including babies and adolescents littering the roads and being eaten by dogs. The viewer witnesses some of the portrayals of machete murder of live Tutsis, including individualized portrayal of the murder of a mother and her baby who was recently born in the school and named Christopher after Father Christopher who delivered the baby just hours earlier.

Now Father Christopher and Joe must make a choice: to leave when the UN forces leave with the "whites" or stay facing certain death by machete at the hands of the Hutu.


Following are brief discussions of the content per individual content investigation area. As always the Findings section of this report, the heart of the CAP Analysis Model, is the best source for discovering the full accounting of the content of this film.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
the line items of findings as noted in the Findings/Scoring section is far too lengthy to try to summarize them in this brief investigation area discussion. Please inspect the listing in the Findings section for a full accounting of the findings of violence and/or crime.

While it would be counterproductive to try to summarize the vast findings of violence, it would be prudent to refresh your understanding of God's Word about violence. Of the more than 50 times God admonishes us against violence and its influence, Proverb 16:29 succinctly addresses His wishes. In Proverb 16:29 God warns that violence can be enticing and can lead the witness into the way that is not good. Not only has God "published" His feelings about violence, man has plagiarized His Word, probably without knowing it, by four professional public health agencies jointly publishing that viewing violence in and as entertainment can, among other things, lead the observer, especially the young, to real life violence and can lead the observer to believe violence is an effective means to settle conflict. How many ways and by how many must we be told of the acidic influence of violence before we start listening?

Impudence/Hate (I) - 58 out of 100
This is a story about hatred. What can one expect of such a film. It is rife with expressions of hatred. Murderous hatred with mob mentality. [1 Pet. 2:1, Col. 3:8] Other examples of impudence and/or hatred include race selectivity of those who will be saved from death and physical brutality.

While there are no uses of profanity in the entire 110.1 minutes of the film, there are three uses of euphemisms of the most foul of the foul words and a couple instances of where anyone who can read lips will see where the audio, closed captioning and subtitles of the profanity was edited.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 94 out of 100
There is no nudity or witnessed sexual assault but there are two accountings of rape of Tutsi women.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 36 out of 100
As might be expected of mob mentality there are examples of booze, drinking and drunkenness. [Gal. 5:21] And smoking.

Offense to God (O) - 94 out of 100
Twice characters utter expressions which use God's name in vain. [Deut. 5:11]

Murder/Suicide (M) - Zero out of 100
Murder is rampant. The observer sees performers portray brutal and graphic murder by machete, spiked club and gunfire many times.



If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "fantasy" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for the American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Their findings include:
    --> Children who see a lot of violence are more likely to view violence as an effective way of settling conflicts. Children exposed to violence are more likely to assume the acts of violence are acceptable behavior.
    --> Viewing violence can lead to emotional desensitization towards violence in real life. It can decease the likelihood that one will take action on behalf of a victim when violence occurs.
    --> Entertainment violence feeds a perception that the world is a violent and mean place. Viewing violence increases fear of becoming a victim of violence, with a resultant increase in self-protective behavior and a mistrust of others.
    --> Viewing violence may lead to real life violence. Children exposed to violent programming at a young age have a higher tendency for violent and aggressive behavior later in life than children who are not so exposed.
    Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • 1 Pet. 2:1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.
  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off [rid yourself of] all these; anger, wrath, malice [kakia: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.], blasphemy [blasphemia: impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty], filthy communication [aischrologia:foul speaking, low and obscene speech] out of your mouth.
  • Gal. 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things [who are unforgiven] shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as in slang or profanity. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion and in praise and prayer is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title even if as a euphemism. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus when I said that" or "It's just words" or "I was acting" will not work with Him. Nor will "Everybody says that" excuse the sin of using His name in vain. If everyone on the planet who has ever drawn a breath used His name in vain, it would still be a sin to do so. If no one ever did, it would still be a sin to do so. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we care or not.]

    Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry

  • Jer. 37:9 - 10 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not! Even if you were to defeat the entire Babylonian army that is attacking you and only wounded men were left in their tents, they would come out and burn this city down. [The "destroyers form within" do not have to be army warriors. They can be the ones who destroy through corruption of moral standards as well, such as filmmakers who perpetuate desensitization against wholesome standards. They aren't going anywhere, folks. Not until Jesus comes again.]
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend what is vile, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it.]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize, to entice to sin. And remember, mom/dad, "little ones" is mikros, meaning less by birth; younger. All of your children are younger than you and less by birth than you. So, "little ones" includes at-home teens.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Beyond the Gates (2007) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
  • scenes of armed civil unrest, repeatedly
  • military armament, throughout
  • sounds of gunfire and explosions
  • readying large bore armament
  • use of military armament to control populace
  • women telling graphic tales of murderous assaults on their families, including on a baby
  • dog lunging at character
  • sounds to lead observer to believe multiple murders by automatic gunfire
  • news reports of turmoil and massacre in the streets
  • bloody murder victims, frequent
  • firearm to the face, repeatedly
  • bloody beating victim
  • men holding bloody machetes with blood on their clothes and hands
  • scene of bloody carnage and mutilation including children, repeatedly
  • growing gathering of armed insurgents
  • tale of machete butchering of 10 UN soldiers
  • growing crowd threat of 2,500 Tutsis
  • birthing screams
  • insurgent threat growing even more, repeatedly
  • tales of multiple murder by machete, repeatedly
  • dozens of bloodied bodies strewn about, repeatedly
  • scenes of individual murder victims with strong gore, repeatedly
  • more machete murder carnage and gore
  • Tutsis requesting to be killed by UN guns rather than machetes
  • abandonment of 2,500 Tutsis to certain murder
  • seething advance of Hutu militia and extremists to slaughter 2,500 Tutsis

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 58 out of 100
  • physical brutality, repeatedly
  • young Hutu boys throwing rocks at Tutsi teen girl
  • constant theme of ethnic hatred
  • lies
  • mob mentality, repeatedly
  • evacuation of whites only from Hutu murder targets

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 94 out of 100
  • two stories of rape of Tutsi women

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 36 out of 100
  • booze, repeatedly
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • smoking, repeatedly
  • drunkenness

    Offense to God (O) - 94 out of 100
  • two uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M) - Zero out of 100
  • murder by machete, club, gunfire, frequent

    Interested parties, send us your proposal. Your link will appear on each new analysis report prepared during the desired period and, once placed on a page, will not be removed.

    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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