HOTEL MUMBAI – 10
In two words: Extreme Intensity (From beginning to end)
This movie should have come out earlier in 2018 so it would be eligible for Oscar nominations, particularly in photography, screen writing, editing, directing and perhaps, supporting actors. It was among the most gripping, intense and exhaustive movies I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been evaluating movies since the age of ten.
First, the caveat: If you can’t stomach raw violence, don’t see this movie. It’s laden with guns, bombs, blood and guts, terror and dead bodies. It had to be because of the horrific nature of the nightmarish event in 2008 that left 164 unsuspecting and innocent people dead, and hundreds more wounded, during an Islamic jihad attack at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, India. Some movies are overloaded with gratuitous violence for effect. None of this violence was gratuitous for effect, because it all actually happened.
Here’s the storyline as gleaned in part from IMDB.com, written by Bleecker Street:
“A gripping true story of humanity and heroism, HOTEL MUMBAI vividly recounts the 2008 siege of the famed Taj Hotel by a group of terrorists in Mumbai, India. Among the dedicated hotel staff is the renowned chef Hemant Oberoi (Anupam Kher) and a waiter (Academy Award-Nominee Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire) who choose to risk their lives to protect their guests. As the world watches on, a desperate couple is forced to make unthinkable sacrifices to protect their newborn child.”
The acting is superb among the cast portraying cold-blooded killers as well as the victims of the attack trying to survive while they watch with horror the senseless shootings everywhere in all directions. There was no stand-out, primary actors, yet their realistic performances as supporting actors were tantamount to perfection.
When I think of realism, my mind immediately recalls the opening scenes in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan as the D-Day invasion of Europe began. This was just as realistic. Hats off to Anthony Maras for a near-flawless directing job. In many aspects, this had to be an extremely tough project to bring to the screen.
Yes, I felt pangs of compassion for the real people who suffered through this nightmare, so much that I nearly cried leaving the theater. It’s so horribly inconceivable that a handful of young men could be so easily manipulated into believing they were performing acts of cold-blooded murder in the name of their religion.
In all, the assault last four days, beginning with the ten Pakistani terrorists who first travelled to Mumbai by hijacking a fishing trawler and killing the four members aboard, then throwing their bodies overboard. This is not portrayed in the movie.
If one looks hard enough, there may have been some flaws in the movie, but I didn’t catch them. I was too engrossed.
I give this film a rare 10 out of 10.