Hotel Mumbai directed by Anthony Maras [7/10]

Anthony Maras has a firm grip on the momentum of “Hotel Mumbai” and from the opening scenes, it’s clear we’re in for terrorist mayhem in Mumbai, courtesy of Pakistanis directed by a shadowy figure. And quickly it’s plain the movie is to be brutally factual detailing the wanton destruction of life that actually happened. I spent the first half of the film almost soured of what I felt was terrorist porn. The key actors are solid, with Dev Patel particularly strong as a Taj Hotel waiter, but the narratives of the key characters are circumscribed. Fortunately, the last half hour introduces a new character, the majestic colonial hotel itself, depicted in wonderful panned scenes, and Maras manages to render a form of tragedy and triumph from the final scenes. Overall, the killing, though no doubt accurate, deadens the drama but the final crowd flight scenes restores an intriguing grandeur. Not recommended for squeamish viewers but a cut-glass depiction of modern terrorism that works well.

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