Hotel Mumbai: Film Review

After a string of so-so movies, Sky Cinema finally brings us a film that’s worth watching – Hotel Mumbai.

Hotel Mumbai is a dramatisation of the 2008 terror attacks which took place in 12 sites across south Mumbai, including a hospital, a train station and luxury hotels. The film focuses on the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, where four gunmen gain access to the building and go around shooting the staff and guests, detonating grenades and collecting high profile hostages. The film follows certain characters such as waiter Arjun (Dev Patel), British-Muslim heiress Zahra (Nazanin Boniadi), her American husband David (Armie Hammer), and Russian VIP Vasili (Jason Isaacs) as they fight for survival during the siege.

Director Anthony Maras immerses you in the horror and chaos and makes you feel the panic and tension the characters are feeling, you’re holding your breath as they’re hiding quietly and feeling stressed out watching them chaotically flee down a staircase. You’re placed right in there with them.

Naturally, given the subject matter, this is a tough, upsetting watch. Watching terrorists gun down more than a hundred people was never going to be easy viewing. It’s moving stuff and I dare you not to well up seeing real footage at the end.

The only real downside is that we don’t really know who our main characters are, particularly with the guests. They aren’t fleshed out much at all so you don’t care about their survival as much as you should.

Patel is extraordinary as the waiter who goes above and beyond to help his guests and Boniadi was moving as the terrified mother separated from her baby. Hammer and Isaacs’ performances were fine but I didn’t have any attachment to their characters, but that’s more of a script issue.

Hotel Mumbai tells an upsetting true story of a horrific attack. I didn’t have detailed knowledge about the horror so the film was all the more shocking. I would have preferred some of the many “people getting shot” scenes to be replaced with scenes focussed on character development. But that being said, it is still a gripping and unflinching watch.

In selected cinemas and on Sky Cinema now 

Rating: 4/5

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