Julien Neaves, Editor
Plot: When terrorists attack the luxury five star Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai staff and guests engage in a desperate fight for survival. It is inspired by the 2009 documentary Surviving Mumbai about the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Review: A couple years back I watched action thriller drama Hotel Mumbai (2018) and I likened the viewing experience to having my soul seared. Now the film, directed and co-written by Anthony Maras, is very well-made and acted, including a standout performance by Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) as courageous Sikh hotel worker Arjun. But the realistic and horrific slaughter carried out by the terrorists was a gut wrenching watch made all the more difficult by the knowledge that these events actually took place.
Now I watch my fair share of horror movies (not as many as Horror Head Writer Sommer, but then again, who does) but this was one of the most terrifying films I have ever seen. Not jump scare scary, mind you, but a more visceral and intimate horror. My heart was in my hands waiting to see who would live and who would die, and it did not matter whether it was a main character that had a bit of development or someone introduced five seconds ago. I feared for them all and felt every death like a gut punch.
The film truly showcases some of the best and worst of humanity. The best is the hotel staff who remained and risked and lost their lives to try and save the hotel guests. True heroes, each and every one of them. The worst is the terrorists, most of whom brutally murder people without a second thought. There is an effort to humanise them a little but no amount of backstory could make one sympathise with these inhuman monsters.
Hotel Mumbai is a well-shot, expertly edited and smartly-paced film that highlights one of the darker moments in human history. And though it left me feeling like my heart had been through a shredder and I don’t think I can bare watching again, I was glad I saw it and I recommend it unreservedly.
Editor Jules’s Score: 9 out of 10
You can check more films based on true events below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.