The painting by Anthony Maras presents in a very precise way the events that shook the whole world in 2008. On the screen we see not only a dramatic struggle for survival, but also many very extreme attitudes – from heroism and risking one’s life to the understandable fear or indolence of Hindu services responsible for protecting the nation. Maras touches on all these aspects with surgical accuracy, without falling into exaggerated valuation of both hotel guests and bombers.
Hotel Mumbai presents real events from the perspective of guests visiting one of the world’s most famous hotels. Despite the narrative conducted in this way, the whole does not have much of the documentary and is rather a decent story drama with the right amount of tension. Of course, from time to time Maras will remind us of the duty of chronicling some historical facts, but the whole definitely uses the properties of its medium and with the help of film language presents us with a brutal story that really happened.
The creators had a lot of artistic freedom, as evidenced by too pathetic scenes and very blunt and cruelly spectacular scenes of killing subsequent guests of the hotel. And for treating certain things too freely, you can have some comments on the director. The pawns on the board were placed with great precision, but unfortunately inside did not always turn out to be full of properly presented content. I mean schematicity, shortness and cheap evoking extreme emotions. This last point, fortunately, is not so visible and the film really can cause shivers or even tears.
The above remarks can be referred to, for example, the characters of the film, who, of course, were brilliantly played by a collection of stars (Dev Patel, Jason Isaacs, Armie Hammer or Nazanin Boniadi), but the creators treated them stereotypically and this is what the casting itself shows – by the name of the actor we know perfectly well what character the character will play on the screen. Perhaps, however, there was some purpose in it to get viewers somewhat accustomed to really traumatic events.
It is difficult to imagine that we would be the heroes ourselves. The creators manage to grab us by the throat more than once and hold for a long time, which makes the screening really intense. The great advantage is certainly the way the bombers are presented, and although here there will also be a typical film fiction that falls under the genre of the drama, but for such moments viewers want to experience cinema and a difficult piece of human history. The perpetrators who are still on links with their “brother” are subjected to very simple but effective manipulations and in the name of their God they are ready to do terrible things. However, Maras also shows the other side of the coin and especially in the scene of a telephone conversation of the bomber with his family, all the biggest emotions that can be helpful in better understanding of the situation resound. The picture does not objectively depict how the events took place minute by minute, but ultimately it is able to evoke in us the desire to explore even this dark part of our real world.
Hotel Mumbai is not a documentary, but it is a smoothly realized drama trying to pay tribute to the victims and heroes of those days through the film medium, and to remind everyone that all this took place and perhaps in many cases we will not even find out whether film fiction she was so far away from what really happened.
Source: main picture: press materials