A young, machete-wielding Rwandan boy on the road for revenge ought to make for a gripping plot, but not in the hands of writer/director Lee Chung. By focusing more on Sangwa (Eric Ndorunkundiye), the title protagonist's buddy, the film goes nowhere — much like the two boys.
Finally, Munyurangabo (Jeff Rutagengwa) — like the audience — gets fed up with Sangwa and leaves the village. Yet Chung's presentation of Rwanda and its culture almost makes up for the lack of action. Dusty village shots followed by scenes of lush foliage draw you into this world; the juxtaposition of brightly colored dancers at a festival with Munyurangabo's brutal hacking at a tree underscores the tensions that linger, perhaps forever, in Rwanda's people.
The film is also heavy on symbolism: at one point, Munyurangabo and his father share a very Mufasa-Simba moment. You wouldn't think a movie with so many cultural elements to draw on would have to steal from Disney.