November 26 – 29, 2008 India experienced several of the most dramatic days in its history – the attack of the terrorist organization “Lashkar-e-Tayyiba” on Mumbai. The objectives were Victoria Station, the Oberoi Hotel, the police station, and the culmination was hostage drama at the Taj Mahal Hotel. These events became the basis of the thriller “Hotel Mumbai” directed by Anthony Maras.
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On November 26th a group of young people on boats are ferried to India. Their goal is to die, but to die by performing jihad – and “to avenge the poverty and misery that the infidels doomed them to.” One group attacks the station, the second – a cafe, and eventually a wave of chaos carries them into the luxury Taj Mahal hotel. The plot gathers other heroes – waiter Arzhun, chef Hemant Oberoi, rich architect David Duncan with wife, Russian oligarch Vasiliy Archevskiy and other guests.
The first impression
The film is watched smoothly from the very beginning: the authors were able to show the “brilliance and poverty of India”, walking side by side. The waiter Arzhun comes to work from a poor apartment in a glittering luxury hotel, the terrorists jump in good suits to the shore of a dirty Ganges to begin their mission in the name of a fanatical idea.
Actually, the drama of the characters here does not set off the real facts of the assault, when special forces from Delhi had to wait all day, the red-hot drama of the fight – which is transmitted through excellent camera work and sound. It was almost impossible for the authors to show them human, to reveal the motives of even armed fanatics, as is usual in Hollywood movies. Also in this movie, there is no traditional image of a superhero – the hero is everyone who has shown restraint and the ability to support others. This movie has short inserts also used in a real documentary.
The characters are quite diverse – from the terrorists, who are shown more likely to be victims of fanaticism and their general social situation, to characters that change during the film. As an example, the Russian businessman Vasiliy Archevskiy, performed by Jason Isaacs, cynically sorting out the cards of elite “call girls” in a restaurant, and use his knowledge of psychology to return the self-control to the survivals. The waiter Arzhun, also appears from the unexpected side organizing a departure of the guests to the safe place.
Almost the only complaint to this film is the fact that the artistic performance will never accurately convey the drama of real people, but in terms of the intensity, “Hotel Mumbai” perfectly conveys those red-hot and dramatic events that took the lives of 175 people.