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Hotel Mumbai | Hollywood Movie Review by Anupama Chopra | Anupam Kher | Film Companion

Hotel Mumbai | Hollywood Movie Review by Anupama Chopra | Anupam Kher | Film Companion


Evil is a mystifying word. Most of us routinely encounter
corruption, lies, betrayal, deceit. What then properly qualifies as evil? The events of 26/11
gave an answer to that. No matter where you were that night,
near the multiple attack sites or lucky enough to be far away. if you were in Mumbai,
you experienced the heart of darkness. The attacks, which lasted over three days
from November 26th to 29th and were orchestrated by the Lashkar-e-Taiba,
killed more than 160 people. I remember the horror of watching
the bloodbath unfold on television, the siege mentality
that engulfed the city and the wild rumors
that fanned our paranoia. Even when the attacks were over,
I was terrified to send my children to school because an anonymous SMS forward insisted
that schools were the next target. We were all scarred,
in ways big and small. In Hotel Mumbai, writer-director Anthony Maras
and co-writer John Collee revisit the first night of the
three days the terror lasted. The focus is the attack on Mumbai’s crown
jewel – the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Why focus on the Taj? I’m assuming because the opulence of a
landmark hotel makes for cinematic visuals and it allows the narrative
to be led by Western characters, meaning you can
cast Armie Hammer. A disclaimer tells us that
the film is inspired by true events but the makers have taken dramatic liberties
so we can’t hold Hotel Mumbai up for accuracy. Once again, we are in that tricky terrain
of the fact-fiction hybrid. Anupam Kher plays Hemant Oberoi, the Taj’s
iconic chef who helped save many lives by hiding guests in
the Chambers club. Dev Patel plays Arjun, the waiter
who exemplifies the Taj motto that the guest is God. We also follow the story of David and Zahra,
a married couple with a baby. He is American. She is Arabic. We are repeatedly told that
Zahra’s mother is fantastically rich and the two must get VIP treatment. This includes the butler making sure that
the bath water is exactly at 48 degrees. The hotel is an island of luxury. Maras alternates between the carnage
that is unfolding on the street as the attacks begin on VT Station
and Leopold Café and the precisely manufactured
elegance at the Taj. We cut from blood and bullets
to perfectly done pastries. But of course, soon enough,
the killers are in the lobby. There are obviously
no surprises here. The events have been extensively
documented in news media. There are several
documentaries on the attack including Dan Reed’s
Emmy-nominated Terror in Mumbai. Fiction gives Maras the
advantage of building drama and situating us inside the
hotel on that fateful night. Like Paul Greengrass
did with the stellar United 93, about one of the airplanes
that was hijacked on 9/11. But Hotel Mumbai doesn’t deliver
that level of tension or immersion. It works in fits and starts. The scripting is uneven. The Indian characters, especially Oberoi
and Arjun , have emotional heft and benefit from heartfelt performances
by Anupam and Dev Patel. But the non-Indians are
bland and largely forgettable, Hammer is wasted
in the role of David. Jason Isaacs playing the unlikable
Russian businessman Vasili is also too generic
to make an impression. Maras and Collee try to give us insight
into the minds of the terrorists but the actors are one-note,
which may be by design because the characters have
been brainwashed into killing machines but
it doesn’t make for compelling cinema. Maras is more successful at
staging the horrors of that night it’s chilling to see the killers knock on doors
pretending to be room service or laundry and then unleashing bullets,
when the guest opens. But there are sequences that
feel just too designed only for suspense so of course at some point,
the baby is being hidden in a closet and we have to hold our breaths,
hoping that it won’t cry. And yet, Hotel Mumbai
lands enough emotional punches. The scale and extent of the
tragedy is too vast to leave you unmoved. I just wish that the film didn’t insist
on a patriotic slant at the end or tell us that Mumbai
bounced back in two days it feels like an empty assertion. There was enough heroism
and humanity on display during the attacks to
give us hope for a better tomorrow.

Comments (37)

  1. Also, check out Rahul Desai's review of Hotel Mumbai:
    https://www.filmcompanion.in/hotel-mumbai-movie-review-a-riveting-recreation-of-mumbais-darkest-night/

  2. RIP #PriyankaReddy !!!😔

  3. Why the re-upload??

  4. Already rgv had made this total movie nicely in 26/11 attacks

  5. WHY SO LATE, movie released way before

  6. I didn't watched the film but I can say I would hate if it had a patriotic ending.

  7. #ASN trailer
    #filmcampanion
    mam see
    adventure of shremannarayana
    if u like it please do review
    just see the effort of team (a self made team without any back bone)
    the team themself traveled from zero to here.
    please do look at it once

  8. I know it's not related to the video but RIP Priyanka Reddy.
    Hopefully the convicted get what they deserve – death.slow death.the most excruciating form of death.

  9. great job Anupama !.. fan of u r ADDa episode. u r right about the courage part which is still remembered every year as not just a worst attack but also the symbol of hope of humanity in people dat saved the victims in taj and many other places. still a good narration.

  10. She should only watch documentaries..she don't deserve free movie tickets..

  11. Please review ye saali ashiqui

  12. It’s Arab, not ‘Arabic’.

  13. Finally a movie on Mumabi attacks that is actually gutsy, realistic, and professionally made. Bollywood would have glorified terrorists.

  14. Hollywood ki tatti bhi sahi lagti hai inko. Dev patel playing another fake desi.
    Nana patekar one was much better.

  15. Madam Sholay ka bi review dedaalo, you changed the definition of review

  16. To Film Companion Team,

    Looks like there is a piracy copy of this movie, is uploaded in YouTube.
    Can someone take necessary action to take it down and help to stop piracy.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=leYmkAH0dLY

    Thanks!

  17. I JUST WATCHED IT… AND GUYS EACH ONE OF YOU SURELY MUST MUST WATCH….

  18. Patriotic slant at the end? WTF?
    Just 2 seconds shot of a guy waving Indian flag infront of Mumbai hotel 2 days after all the recovery was done is patriotic slant? I would hate if it had Uri type patriotism pushed into but this movie had nothing of patriotic slant. Idiotic Anupama.

  19. R I P Priyanka Reddy

  20. Why release in India this late? I saw it in US last year!
    Anyway, disagree with Anupama. The movie packed just the right punches. Yes, the Russian diplomats character was a caricature but other than that movie was well made. The acting is carried mainly by Kher and Patel anyway.

  21. Thanks again for a review which I would not pay attention to

  22. A well made intense and realistic movie a must watch …needs more publicity and also wondering why it has released after its blue ray and DVD versions are already on sale…but a must watch

  23. Ms. Chopra – Pls review Upstart from Netflix. It could be the best movie of the year from the Indian film industry.

  24. If someone of your Love one was the victim of this radical islamic Terroisam then how would you describe this attack by your so much intellectual (absulete bulshit) liberal brain??????? This was motherfucker Busterd Pakisthani radical islamic Terroisam – say it clearly or just keep praying for you family members sefty from this attack because bulate from such busterd gun don't judge whether you are liberal or not.

  25. I am one of them who disliked your review.

  26. @filmcompanion Zara is not Arabic. She is Iranian..She speaks Persian.

  27. I have made a video on top 100 Hindi movies of all time. It would be great help if you analyse it and give your suggestions in comments and share it. Thank you

  28. Very late, it's been a while after releasing this film

  29. Review "ADVENTURES OF SRIMANNARAYANA" Trailer

  30. Zahra is persian, not arab 🙂

  31. She is made to watch ADITYA CHOPRA movies only !!

  32. Aptly reviewed Anupama Ma'am, this movie could've been better.

  33. This movie is already on Amazon Prime. It released in India so late???

  34. I am glad laskher eh toiba name was used by anupama.

  35. BEST MOVIE MUST WATCH

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