Hotel Mumbai shows us the terror we find in terrorism. One relives the emotions while watching the horrifying events unfold on-screen. That's precisely why it triumphs as a feature film. Thumbs up!
Hotel Mumbai, based on the 2009 documentary Surviving Mumbai, is more or less a true story, with a gripping and gut-wrenching - at times, almost too gripping - screenplay by director Anthony Maras and John Collee, which leaves you stunned and traumatized. It is a ticktock of horrific violence, which began in Mumbai's main train station and shifted to the Taj. The movie grabs your attention from the inception itself. Each and every sequence that unfolds on-screen gives you goosebumps. It's chilling!
Hotel Mumbai is an unsparing clockwork thriller, which depicts that the worst of tragedies can inspire the best in its victims. The callousness with which the terrorists operate is palpable and conveyed with a degree of verisimilitude that borders on sadism. Director Anthony Maras makes sure he doesn't skip a beat while narrating the vital episodes. Sure, the skeptics may argue, we have read and seen it all through various forms of communication, but what the director accumulates is beyond words. The film is skilfully made and co-writer/director Anthony Maras clearly wants to pay tribute to those who risked their lives to help others. One relives infuriation, distress, grief & helplessness while watching the dastardly events unfurl on-screen.
That tension is the most problematic - and therefore interesting - thing about Hotel Mumbai. There's a quiet radicalism in making a movie that is, at its heart, all about people who sacrificed their lives in saving others. It makes you salute & respect them. Director Anthony Maras must have faced the challenge to reconstruct the events and replicate the gruesome acts on celluloid. Hotel Mumbai is one film where the real-life episodes take precedence. And I avow that the outcome is absolutely spellbinding.
The screenwriting (Anthony Maras and John Collee), the dialogue, the cinematography (Nick Remy Matthews), the shootouts, the background score (Volker Bertelmann), the set (Scott Ashenden) and the edit (Peter McNulty) add credence to the enterprise that attempts to portray the carnage.
Hotel Mumbai is a film that is completely performance driven because it's not a rescue thriller, it is subtly-crafted drama meant to celebrate hope and resilience. Special mention to the casting directors here - Ann Fay, Leigh Pickford and Trishaan.
Anupam Kher delivers an exceptionally restraint and mature performance. DevPatel stands out completely. Nazanin Boniadi, Jason Isaacs, Armie Hammer and Tilda Cobham-Hervey translate the panic and agonising fear of those hours through their solid performances.
On the whole, Hotel Mumbai is akin to watching the barbaric act in rawest form. It's a gripping, hauntingly unnerving and emotionally draining watch. It also reminds us of the extraordinary courage of the ordinary people. Do not miss it! Bravo!