(This is Hotel Mumbai film review, which is a biographical thriller film of the Mumbai 2008 terrorists incident)
The tragic Mumbai incident in 2008 has received condemnations from all around the world. As well as causing one of the highest death of the year, it is also the event that soured the relationships of the two neighbouring countries. And with it, plenty of other films have been made about it, with Hotel Mumbai being the fifth film.
Hotel Mumbai is a biographical film that brings us back into the scenes behind the Taj Hotel. It is directed by Anthony Maras and written by John Collee, who ironically was famous for Happy Feet(2006). It also features some famous stars such as Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi, Anupam Kher, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Jason Isaacs, Suhail Nayyar, and Natasha Liu Bordizzo.
Without further ado, let’s delve into the Hotel Mumbai film review below to see if it could represent the incident truthfully.
On 26th November 2008, a group of ten terrorists coordinated an assault attack in 12 different places in Mumbai. Then, the police was not well trained or equipped with terrorism and the attackers proceeded to invade the landmark Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Inside, the survivors have to find ways to escape, but with the attackers being ruthless and armed, could any of them ever escape?
Hotel Mumbai Film Review
The premise is based on the incident itself, so nothing much is new if you have read about it. However, the film still manage to whip out some interesting perspectives from different people. What’s notable is they cover many parts from the tourists, hotel staff’s, police’s and even the terrorists point of views. With such a wide range of scenes to be shown, it makes the film more interesting, and also let us witness how humanity survived this tragic incident.
I especially like the facts that none of the characters shown are interlinked too much, and to show that terrorisms affect random people. The film takes realism as its core factor, but does not neglect on some dramatisation as well. This delicate balance is actually upheld throughout the film, where we can truly see the reality of the shootings, as well as feeling empathised with both the victims and some of the terrorists.
The film does not turn the antagonist into black and white characters. Instead, they have their own reasons, and though we still condemn them, at least we are presented with some of the reality of the situation.
The pacing is brilliant! Things start to move fast as we are shown the terrorists approaching Mumbai immediately right after the opening. Then, it does not take its time to show the brutality of the attacks, as we are brought along the shootings seen through the eyes of the bystanders and some innocent tourists.
Scenes keep switching from different angles and it brought and keep up the tension till the end of the film.
Actions are kept realistic and neither too fast or slow. Nothing is dramatised to the point that it drags the pace. This is how a film should be, when it knows that taking it slow does not work with the story at all. Scenes keep switching from different angles and it brought and keep up the tension till the end of the film.
Yes, these characters are the main stars of the film. That goes for both of the terrorists and the victims. First, we are shown Arjun, one of the hotel staffs who is shown to be the sole breadwinner of his family. But he also prepares to sacrifice his life for his duty to ensure safety of his guests. The same goes for the head chef of the restaurant who displays the perfect personification of a leader in a dire situation.
Then, the tourists and a family are shown in their anguish over the separation of both their child and their loved ones. Honestly, all of these are filled with humanity and we really are able to empathise with them deeply. And this is all done without any of those cliché dramatic moments. No, the film prefers to do it the realistic way and it earns brownie points from me.
We could see them joking among each other like brothers, and then eating and envying the hotel guests’ wealths.
What’s more interesting is the fact that the terrorists are not completely one-dimensional. We could see them joking among each other like brothers, and then eating and envying the hotel guests’ wealths. Then we are shown why they are doing this: extreme poverty. The film makes us realise that these guys are not truly cold-blooded killers since they were born, but was forced into it. And one of the terrorists even refused to follow an order to kill a Muslim woman, and that really make me respect the filmmakers, for they know humans are never one-sided regardless of their deeds.
Soundtrack wise is pretty decent with the traditional Indian track that permeates through some of the scenes. And one special mention to one usage of Muslim prayer song near the ending of the film that really takes the cake. We are shown one of the terrorists singing it, and though we condemn their actions, the religious song actually kind of soothes their pain. Lastly, the SFX is superb with plentiful of guns sound and grenades that raises up the tension of the scenes.