Film Festivals

TIFF 2018: Hotel Mumbai Review

This will be one of many reviews during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. If you would like to keep up with our content, click here. For photos of the premiere, check out our social media accounts (link below).

Synopsis: Hotel Mumbai tells the astonishing true story of the victims and survivors of the devastating attacks on Mumbai in 2008. (IMDB)

Starring: Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, and Nazanin Boniadi

Writers: John Collee and Anthony Maras

Director: Anthony Maras

Rating: n/a

Running Time: 125mins

Trailer: n/a

Based on the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, specifically the incident at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Hotel Mumbai recreates these harrowing events with striking accuracy. What the film does right is create a palpable sense of tension and dread throughout. The film followed multiple sets of characters on every side of the incident. From the hotel guests, to the hotel staff, to even the terrorists who were gunning down everyone in sight in brutal fashion, this was sheer chaos to watch as people all across the hotel were trying to survive even though not many did.

The film gave us a few characters to root for in the form of a resourceful waiter named Arjun (Patel) and a newlywed couple named David (Hammer) and Zahra (Boniadi) and their baby. The film was also a touch too long, clocking in at just over 2 hours, as the carnage became gratuitous. Watching these people come together to survive seemingly insurmountable odds, including the courage of all the hotel staff, was inspiring but after a while, the question of what is the point of all of this grew larger. Ultimately, the act of these people coming together was more important than the people themselves since very few of them stood out as they were mostly cliches.

The acting was good across the board and sold the fear that these people must have felt at the time. The best of them was Patel as Arjun. He was stellar to watch while consistently putting himself in the line of fire to protect others despite being terrified himself. The same was the case for Anupam Kher as Hermant Oberoi as the hotel chef. Hammer was fine as David and Boniadi was impressive as Zahra.

Overall, this was an intense, brutal, and emotional thriller based on real life events. The performances and another great Hauschka score keep you on the edge of your seat but the brutality does become gratuitous and it will become easy to question the point of it.

Score: 8/10

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