Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
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Hotel Mumbai was a movie that completely flew under my radar during it’s limited theatrical run (it isn’t a DTV film, but it only got very limited releases at film festivals and high profile theaters around the nation), and even when I received it for review I shook it off as another bland thriller that I wouldn’t get a whole lot out of. I remember hearing about the attacks on Mumbai back in 2008 (Mumbai has actually sustained massive terrorist attacks from their mortal enemies in Pakistan), and I was intrigued about the subject matter, but these films that don’t hit much theatrical release tend to be overly long and dray for my personal tastes. Those feelings of boredom and apathy were completely thrown out the window within the first 10 minutes of the film starting, as the movie is one THE most intense films that I have ever seen. 2 hours and 3 minutes later I could feel my heart just starting to stop pounding like a kettle drum and I realized that my hands were clenched so hard that I had actually cut my palms with my own nails. When I say that Hotel Mumbai is an intense film with a heart wrenching story, I truly mean it. The movie is not 100% perfect, but it is expertly acted, and it takes a horrific situation and turns it into one of the most harrowing accounts of ACTUAL heroism (not some sort of Die Hard fantasy heroism) that I’ve seen in all of 2019.
The film literally jumps into things within a matter of minutes. A group of 10 Pakistani terrorists infiltrate Mumbai, India, and target several high profile locations and being indiscriminately shooting and bombing in order to spread terror and death. Shooting up a train station, a restaurant and several other notable places, the terrorists finally focus in on the ritzy Taj hotel, which is home to rich diplomats, businessman and high profile citizens from all over the world. Striking without mercy, and without heart, the radicalized Islamic terrorists slaughter everyone they can see within the vicinity.
Splitting up into several sub stories, we get to focus on an American architect (Armie Hammer) and his wife and child, a rich Russian businessman who has a lascivious nature (Jason Isaacs), and a Taj Hotel waiter named Arjun (Dev Patel), we watch as the three day siege of the Taj Hotel plays out as each of these individual try to stay alive and out of the terrorists reach. Holing up in different locations, David (the architect) desperately tries to find his nanny who has his newborn baby boy, Dev and his fellow hotel employees keep the remaining survivors hidden in a small room off the edge of the hotel, and each of them prays for help as the Mumbai police are at a standoff with the 10 terrorists.
The really inspiring part of the movie is watching the various people putting their own lives in danger to help others. Dev Patel’s Arjun, and head Chef Oberoi (famed Indian actor Anupam Kher) working together to keep their guests sake is empowering and tear inducing, but also terrifying as you never know if they’re going to live or not. Even though you know how the attack ends if you have kept up with the original 11 year old tale, Maras holds no punches in attaching you to characters, starting to care for them, only to have them murdered in front of your eyes. Honestly, there is no telegraphing of who lives and who dies, as the randomness of the terrorists is portrayed with mercy or coddling of big name actors. The audience is constantly left guessing whom is going to make it out, and who is going to die, adding to the knuckle biting tension that is crafted throughout the movie.
Rated R for disturbing violence throughout, bloody images, and language
• Finding the True Story - Featurette
• Humanity Within Tragedy - Featurette
• Real-Life Heroes - Featurette
Now, there’s a few issues with pacing in the center act, and the movie does stretch on a bit long, but this is a fantastic true life story of heroism and absolute devastation that is orchestrated by those who don’t value life in the least. What’s more sobering is the fact that the handlers who radicalized these 10 men are still at large, and STILL planning attacks against the Indian people to this day. Maras does a great job at creating tension, and the near horror level of violence actually allows a sobering sense of reality and terror into the film, pulling it away from the typical Hollywood fanfare and melodrama. The Blu-ray is exquisitely done in terms of audio and video, and there’s a solid array of extras on board the disc. This isn’t a film I’d show kids, but if you’re not squeamish, this is one of the better true life stories of surviving a terrorist attack in quite some time. Great Watch.
Starring: Jason Isaacs, Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Alex Pinder, Manoj Mehra, Suhail Nayyar, Kapil Kuman Netra, Amriptal Singh
Directed by: Anthony Maras
Written by: John Collee, Anthony Maras
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DD 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Hindi
Runtime: 123 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: June 18th, 2019
Recommendation: Very Good Watch