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Published On: Mon, Mar 25th, 2019

‘Hotel Mumbai’ brings India’s 9/11 to life in a chilling, suspenseful film

Australian director Anthony Maras has undertaken an incredible feat: bring the horrific 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai to theaters in a powerful way, still entertaining audiences and engaging their emotions. The end results is Hotel Mumbai.

With the jihadi leader, Brother Bull, speaking off camera to the militants, the terrorist faction arrive at a Mumbai slum on a rubber boat and quickly dispatch to executive a series of well-planned shootings and bombings across the highly populated area. This includes the seizure of the prestigious Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Check out the trailer at the bottom.

The story seems as random as the shootings at times. Backstories and motivations are fleeting, coming in between attacks, as audiences are thrust into the chaos, trying to keep up and characters are introduced and dispatched as the plot unfolds.

John Collee’s script is unapologetic. This is jihad.

The cast is led by Dev Patel as Arjun, a poor waiter who kisses his wife and child goodbye before being swept up in the struggle to survive with his boss, Anupam Kher, as Hemant Oberoi, the head chef at the Taj, taking charge of protecting both staff and guests. Armie Hammer and Nazanin Boniadi are a rich couple, traveling with their nanny (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) with Jason Isaacs cast as a crass Russian seeking prostitutes as the attacks convene.

While there are moments of dealing with the bias against Americans or their Islamophobic prejudices, this is swept away quickly as Maras moves the story around with an exhausting pace and bloody executions. This makes the film hard to watch for some, but the brutality attempts to capture the horrors these Islamic extremists are imposing on innocents.

This is carnage and Maras is not ashamed of shocking audiences with that reality and uncertainty.

The film is actually quite simple: survive.

Just when you catch your breath, the “Bull” offers shocking instructions through earpieces to his jihadi soldiers and, well, people die.

Hotel Mumbai is part thriller and part disaster film. The Taj is set on fire, the terrorists set off explosives in key areas to create more devastation and film borrows suspense from Towering Inferno or Die Hard. This is real. This is what the victims went through. This is what jihad can look like.

The 2008 Mumbai attacks left 166 dead, plus 8 of the 9 terrorists, and at least 300 injured. Maras and Collee did an amazing job of paying tribute to the heroism which saved so many on that day. The performances are great, the action is unrelenting (almost to a fault) and if you can’t “stomach” the ride, you will be moved by the time the credits role.

Hotel Mumbai gets 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

FIND A SCREENING NEAR YOU: https://www.bleeckerstreetmedia.com/hotelmumbai

The film is designed to be unsettling, not gross, but for some folks, Hotel Mumbai will just be too much. Evil is real, but often, it’s hard to look at. It’s unclear about some of the subplots, particularly keeping the baby alive, which make it hard to judge creative liberty or accurate storytelling. The end credits focus on the Taj re-opening, but instill a weird positive emotion into a very solemn feeling at the close of the action.

About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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