Hotel Mumbai movie review: Hauntingly unnerving, explosively unsettling

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HOTEL MUMBAI movie review is here. The action thriller directed by Anthony Maras is inspired by the 2009 documentary Surviving Mumbai which is based on the 2008 Mumbai attacks at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in India. Releasing in India on November 29, 2019, the movie stars Dev Patel, Armie Hammer and Anupam Kher in pivotal roles.

HOTEL MUMBAI was premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and Adelaide Film Festival, does it makes the right noise?!, Let’s find out in the movie review of HOTEL MUMBAI.

Immediate reaction when the end credits roll
How can such disturbing global tragedies like the 26/11 in Mumbai, India, such human suffering can be called ‘entertainment’ in the disclaimer. HOTEL MUMBAI is a tense and explosive dramatization of The Taj Mahal seize in Mumbai, the makers should have said that it’s a dramatized ‘homage’ to the survivors of the inhumanly horrific incident, not something based on true events dramatized for ‘entertainment’.

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The Story of HOTEL MUMBAI
Based on the horrific inhuman act of 26/11, 2008 in Mumbai the carnage that shook Mumbai and the world where terrorist went on a spree attacking the pride of Mumbai the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel, CST, Leopold Café, etc. The story mixes fact with fiction as it recounts the horror where a waiter working in Hotel Taj reports on duty without his official pair of shoes.

Chef Hemant Oberoi (Anupam Kher) asks Arjun to leave but Arjun insists on staying at work. Chef Hemant allows Arjun to commence his duties and also asks him to wear his spare pair of shoes. As the hotel staff gears up for the night shift in making arrangements for VIP guests like David Duncan ((Armie Hammer), Zahra (Nazanin Boniadi) and a new born baby with nanny (Tilda Cohham –Hervey).

The terrorist attack the hotel, rest is how the hotel staff headed by Chef Hemant Oberoi pledging on the great Indian tradition of ‘god is a guest’ save the guest who is mostly foreign nationals, how the people trapped in the hotel survive and how the terrorist are eliminated in this saga of rare valour, heroism, humanity, and survival.

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Good points
Technically a brilliantly crafted action thriller that reminds of Steven Spielberg’s MUNICH, Gillo Pontecorvo’s THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS. The cinematography, sound design and background score are terrific and it’s a spine chiller with a couple of touchy human moments.

Anthony Maras graduates from a fine short filmmaker to a respectable helmer of features in this docudrama that uses the real news footages smartly.

Top notch performance from Anupam Kher as Chef Hemant Oberoi ( the real character/survivor of the incident), Dev Patel as Arjun – the fictional one. Adequate support from Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi, Tilda Cohham –Hervey and Jacob Isaacs adds to the pain and suffering.

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The terrorist played by Amandeep Singh (Imran), Suhail Nayyar (Suhail Nayyar) Manoj Mehra (Houssam), Dinesh Kumar(Rashid), Amriptal Singh(Ismail), Kapil Kumar Netra (Ajmal) add to the terror with their realistic portrayal.

Vipin Sharma as Dilip gives a convincing portrayal of a ‘common’ individual who is concerned more about his safety and security.

Flaws

Cinema/art inspired from such ghastly inhuman act should be filled with more positivity and it should salute the valour of the survivors more in a manner that massages our soul and opens up our mind further. The emotional sweep, the thought-provoking depth, and the required character arc is missing in this overall manipulative pop corn cinema based on the 26/11, 2008 horror.

It was appalling for me to find the word ‘entertainment’ in the disclaimer. With no offence meant to Anthony Maras in his feature film debut, HOTEL MUMBAI is a technically polished action thriller with top-notch acts, but sorry you cannot call it as ‘entertainment’.

Final words
HOTEL MUMBAI is a hauntingly unnerving, explosively unsettling reminder of the horrific inhuman act of 26/11, 2008 in Mumbai the carnage that shook Mumbai and the world. It’s brilliantly crafted and marvelously performed. So, am I recommending it? I leave it up to you. How you take it.

An action thriller that is smartly manipulated as a reminder of the attack and releasing in India on 29th November 2019 close to the date of attack in 2008, or a tribute to the survivors that lacks the debate and the emotional sweep wrapped in a tight, explosive, action-packed thriller.

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Critic Rating
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