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Hotel Mumbai


Stars: Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi, Jason Isaacs, Anupam Kher, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Alex Pinder, Suhail Nayyar, Dinesh Kumar, Amandeep Singh, Manoj Mehra, Angus McLaren, Carmen Duncan, Chantal Contouri

Director: Anthony Maras

A graphic re-imagining of the events of 2008 when a dozen or so heavily-armed Jihadi terrorists targeted various key locations in the Indian city of Mumbai, including the railway station, and the iconic Hotel Taj, which provides the centre of the action here.

Firing indiscriminately at guests and staff alike, four of the activists, indoctrinated by a Pakistan-based cell, begin a campaign of slaughter and terror that is to last the best part of a day. The danger they engender seems frighteningly real.

While corpses litter the corridors and foyer of the opulent hotel, many of the surviving visitors and staff, led by waiter Arjun (Patel) and head chef Oberoi (Kher) make for a 'safe chamber' in the bowels of the hotel.

Among them are American/Indian newlyweds (Boniadi, Hammer) and a former Russian KGB officer (Isaacs) whose night of intended pleasure with local 'models' turns into a nightmare.

And there's the newlyweds' baby, being looked after by an English nanny (Cobham-Hervey), who neglects to close the door behind her when a terrified (and doomed) woman rushes into their capacious apartment.

It's the sort of film where people feel compelled to do silly things, like leaving places of safety in an attempt to escape to the outside, placing themselves in even more danger, although in some ways this is a necessary evil to provide variety to the tension, which is kept on high throughout, as violent and sudden death awaits around every corner.

It is indeed a remarkably well-staged film, holding closely to known events, with Patel especially good as the turbaned waiter who becomes a hero.

David Quinlan

Australia/India/UK/USA 2018. UK Distributor: Sky Cinema. Colour (unspecified).
119 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 23 Sep 2019