Title – Hotel Mumbai (2018)
Director – Anthony Maras (feature debut)
Cast – Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Jason Isaacs, Anupam Kher, Nazanin Boniadi, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Amandeep Singh
Plot – A dramatization of siege on the renowned Taj Hotel during the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, as the hotel’s staff and guest’s fight for their survival in the midst of the bloodthirsty ordeal.
“To get through this we must stick together”
Review by Eddie on 18/06/2019
It’s never an easy task making a feature film of an horrific real life event, here in Hotel Mumbai the dramatization of the 2008 terror attacks that shook the country of millions and the world, but Australian director Anthony Maras manages the tricky balance of making a film that educates viewers about this terrible occurrence, while also shining a light on the many heroic actions that brought out the best of humanity in an otherwise dark and evil time.
Instead of trying to encapsulate all of the terror that took place in Mumbai during these events, Maras instead focuses mostly on the horror that unfolded in the renowned and upmarket Taj Hotel, filled with guests and staff from all over the world, who were facing a battle for their lives for a number of hours as gun toting and grenade wielding extremists infiltrated their grounds and acted out a bloodthirsty and cowardly planned attack on the facility.
By doing this Maras is able to build up a number of different characters we begin very early on to care for, from Dev Patel’s kindly staff member Arjun, Anupam Kher’s head chef Oberoi, Nazanin Boniadi’s and Armie Hammer’s newly married couple Zahra and David and Tilda Cobham-Hervey’s nanny Sally, all of whom are based on real life victims of the attacks or a combination of real people that found themselves in the hotel on that fateful day.
In doing so Hotel Mumbai finds an almost constant feeling of tension and unease as these people we’ve got to know find themselves face to face with the very worst kind of religious violence, mindless and unwavering in its blood-lust and Maras handles the expansive cast and more close quarters confinement of the horrific attack with aplomb as he covers all bases of the incident.
Wisely for the film we also get to spend time with the man behind the murderous plight, while they are showcased as what could be perceived to be the generic version of a Muslim terrorist, its unfortunately just how it was as these brainwashed men (or really teenagers) believed they were more than justified and within their rights to enter into the sacred grounds of Indian soil to unleash their hell on earth for its unsuspecting citizens.
There are moments in Hotel Mumbai that feel a little forced and out of place, moments of dialogue that are a little heavy handed or character actions that scream big screen box ticking (people moving out of hiding spots for no good reason or unbelievable shootouts) but overall much of Hotel Mumbai provides a hold your breath like insight into a terrible day in Indian and world history and a reminder to us all of the often amazing human bravery that shines forth in such dark moments.
Final Say –
A confronting and unwavering feature length look at one of India’s darkest days, Hotel Mumbai is an impressive Australian backed production that acts as a taut and tense thriller and an insightful exploration of a true life terror.
3 ½ pairs of work shoes out of 5