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Jerry Cutler On Film—‘Hotel Mumbai’ Is A Thrilling, Non-Stop Action Drama

Dev Patel in "Hotel Mumbai."

Posted Friday, March 29, 2019 - 8:34 pm

By Jerry Cutler

The Mumbai terror attacks of 2008 are hauntingly and realistically brought to the screen through Anthony Maras’ deft direction in Hotel Mumbai. The story and carnage have sadly become an accepted occurrence 11 years after an Islamic militant group terrorized innocent locals and visitors to India. The world has become a destructive stage for groups sprouting their own dogmatic agendas through voice and violence.

Hotel Mumbai opens with a rubber boat filled with 10 militants approaching the city’s shore. They enter a restroom and take out assault weapons that will soon wantonly kill 160 men, women and children. The guns start blaring and the terrorists continue to amass bodies as they casually walk through the streets and into the lobby of the hotel, a famous gathering place for “rich Westerners.” All the while, wearing ear plugs, they listen to a voice of someone called “Bull” telling them not to deter from their mission as “Paradise, Allah and money” await them.

In no uncertain terms, Hotel Mumbai is an engrossing film. The acting and cinematography compliment the story-telling which is hard hitting and direct — making the events we read in 2008 more harrowing.

Dev Patel as a humble waiter caught in a desperate situation, continues to impress with his ability to take on and excel in a wide variance of roles. Armie Hammer and Nazanin Boniadi as a young couple on vacation with their baby, and Jason Isaacs, as a wealthy Russian misogynist are wonderful as they bring added drama to a film permeated with action, ideology and purpose.

Maras has given us a feature that is hard to turn away from. On one hand, we decry hateful diatribes and the proliferation of guns cutting down human life and ideals … on the other hand, we can’t seem to make headway communicating the urgency of reaching out and establishing a common ground in which to act civilly and reaching a common ground.

3-1/4 bagels and a schmear

Rabbi Jerry Cutler, the Courier’s film critic, is rabbi at Creative Arts Temple.

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