Hotel Mumbai Movie Review
If you’d forgotten just how awful the 2008 Mumbai attacks were, director Anthony Maras is here to remind us. Hotel Mumbai depicts the harrowing three-day assault on Mumbai’s business district and the Taj Hotel by Pakistani terrorists that left nearly 200 dead.
Starring Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, and a score of less recognizable actors and actresses, Hotel Mumbai is a gripping reenactment of the events that occurred primarily within the hotel as the staff attempted to rescue the hundreds of its guests trapped inside. The movie is essentially a two-hour “action” film where things can and often do turn sideways at any given moment.
Well-made and well written, Hotel Mumbai is a disturbingly entrancing movie, one in which you cannot look away even as real-life horror unfolds on screen. Its fault is that while it works extremely well as a depiction of the Mumbai attacks, it rarely seeks to explore the characters involved. Its lack of nuance in that regard could lead to the question, “What is the real point of the movie other than to sensationalize the murder of so many innocent people?”
I’ve never been one to get upset about filmmakers bringing to screen tragic real-life events, as long as they are done well and respectably. While Hotel Mumbai might fall a bit short on the drama side, Maras, who also co-wrote the movie with John Collee, clearly has a passion for showing the heroism that went on within the walls of the Taj Hotel. The hotel’s staff has been commended for staying inside to help their guests, many even returning after initially escaping.
Hotel Mumbai is a shocking reminder of what happened over a decade ago. The movie may lack the dramatic power it needed to stand the test of time, but in the moment it is as suspenseful as any movie you’ll see this year.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.