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‘Hotel Mumbai’ Delivers Intensity (Movie Review)

In 2008, a small but potent group of terrorists launched a well-coordinated, multi-wave attack on specific targets within the Indian city of Mumbai. The horrific events took place within a period lasting from November 26th to the 29th. This past weekend, the 123-minute feature film titled Hotel Mumbai, which retells those moments of those awful three days, had its national release. Starring Slumdog Millionaire lead, Dev Patel, along with Anupam Kher, Armie Hammer, Jason Isaacs, and the insanely beautiful Nazanin Boniadi.

I did not need exceptional intuition to tell me this film would be intense. The trailer achieved that in a matter of seconds.  While I would lying if I said I knew all the details of what happened back in November of 2008, what took place was far more widespread than what I realized.  The movie wastes little time in setting the stage of the heinous and inhumane actions that were about to unfold.  Patel plays hotel staff member Arjun, while Kher assumes the role of the Taj Hotel’s executive chef.  Hammer, Boniadi, and Isaacs are all high profile guests at the Taj, Mumbai’s most luxurious hotel.

The chemistry of the actors is seamless, to be sure, especially when their characters are all looking death in the eye simultaneously. With that being said, if there is one thing this film excels at, it’s the intensity it brings to the audience.  I was hesitant to look down at my Apple Watch to check my heart rate during the movie.  After all, the guy next to me who kept checking his phone was more than enough of a technology distraction, but I digress.

As for the flow of the film, at an hour and three minutes, it did feel longer.  There is a significant amount of time where the story does not advance, which was reflective of the actual hostage scenario.  However, for the film, it created lag, thus causing that edginess to dissipate.  While this wasn’t a constant occurrence, the segment of this that did exist was enough of a detractor here.

All in all, Hotel Mumbai succeeded as the thriller it set out to be, while also honoring the 100+ fallen from those attacks.  It is indeed frustrating to watch at times, in the sense that someone so easily lets themselves get brainwashed by religion, which then leads to a violent rampage. While structural damage is replaceable, the loss of human life is not, and as a result, is utterly reprehensible.  Hotel Mumbai captures that notion quite well but has a small sense of tediousness along the way.  Nevertheless, it is worth viewing.

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