Hotel Mumbai Reviews
I was extremely impressed in how the graphic violence was presented in a manner that fit the story perfectly. Top notch moviemaking-editing. I did not expect to like this movie as much as I did. Recommend.
But the movie perspective was great, I thought. The facelessness of the anarchy, humanity of us all, even still within the brainwashed boy with a gun believing a religion or war it is neither a religion nor a war.
Then the whole crumbs of imperialism still alive in India.
And of course Dev Patel, I don't think there is a single thing he produced that I didn't enjoy watching.
One of the more worthwhile movies I watched this year.
Based on the 2009 documentary "Surviving Mumbai," this film is relentless in its tension, angst and anguish. It chronicles the terror attacks in Mumbai in November, 2008, carried out by a group of Pakistani boys who were promised that their families would receive cash payments because of their ultimate sacrifice. These boys were trained and sent to their deaths by an unseen "Brother Bull" (a person never identified or caught) who orchestrates their every move through constant cell phone communications. During their rampage, twelve different sites in Mumbai were attacked, with the culminating event the occupation of the landmark Taj Mahal Hotel.
Director Anthony Maras, in his feature film debut, gives the viewer only the sketchiest of backgrounds about the terrorists and only limited insight into the backgrounds of those who became the object of their violence. Clearly, Maras, who also served as co-writer, wants this film to focus almost exclusively on the action taking place in the present. This intentional lack of character development also serves to even more effectively highlight the rare moments of humanity. As Arjun, a devoted hotel staffer, Dev Patel (2009's "Slumdog Millionaire," Oscar nominee for 2017's "Lion") is particularly memorable. In one scene, he patiently explains the cultural significance of his pagri (Sikh turban) to an unnerved guest who thinks, because of his appearance, that he may be a terrorist, too.
A few scenes develop the thesis that this insane violence was not grounded in religious differences, but may be better understood in terms of class warfare. "Brother Bull" reminds his minions that the wealthy have left them behind. The hotel's head chef (an excellent Anupam Kher) admonishes his staff regularly that "the guest is god." In a particularly poignant moment, the boys/terrorists, mid-rampage, pause to marvel at a flush toilet.
While there is interesting subtext to ponder, the central focus is on the actions of the terrorists - all offered in consistently unflinching detail. Some have criticized the film for its excessive violence and for the insensitivity of releasing the film just after the mass shooting in New Zealand. However, for a film that effectively dramatizes the senselessness of indiscriminate violence, the timing seems just right.
Also a lot of over emotional acting in the movie.
It saddens me to read that many have seen the movie as a confirmation of their view that they "hate muslims." Oh the other hand the movie did inspire me to want to see the documentary on the same subject.