The fact that Paul does not turn away from his fellow human beings when so many would have done so represents a very compelling example of courageous behavior. At the critical moment when Paul realizes that his own use of bribes and ability to smooth things over with those in the position of power will not work, he opens up his hotel and houses over a thousand people who would have otherwise faced death as a result of the brutality that surrounds them. Paul demonstrated courage because he does exactly what others around him does not do, representing the type of behavior that goes "against the current." It is compelling because in seeing his behavior, it represents the very type of actions that we, if placed in that situation, could only hope to emulate. At the same time, it is courageous because of the awareness that so many others did not display such behavior or could not do so. In the mass graves that surround the hotel and the people in it, Paul's courage of trying to create a shelter from the storm is the very essence of the form of courage that proves to be compelling.
The movie takes place during the war between the Hutu and Tutsi people in Rwanda, and chronicles that terrible genocide. This movie summarizes one large act of courage by main character, Paul Rusesabagina. Paul is the manager of a French owned hotel in Rwanda, and is Hutu. Paul risks everything by hiding and giving food and shelter to over a thousand Tutsi refugees in the hotel he manages. By doing this, Paul risks his own life as well as the lives of his wife and children as he is surrounded by Rwandan army officials, other Hutu, and his hotel supplier who also happens to be the leader of an extremely active and violent anti-Tutsi militia.