Director Anthony Maras’s historical thriller film is an adaptation of the documentary “Surviving Mumbai” (2009). It dramatizes the actions and sacrifices made by the staff of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel: one of the major locations that was targeted by terrorists during the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The ten members of Lashkar-e-Taiba assaulted their victims with high-end weapons and explosives over a four-day period.~Augustine Chay
Terrorism has become an unfortunate common occurrence in modern times. Hotel Mumbai does a good job of showing such an event although it can sometimes blur the line between Hollywood storytelling and docudrama in a way that makes you feel a bit strange. It plays like a modern day entry into the disaster film drama genre made famous by Irwin Allen in the 1970s, but cannot fully embrace the genre due to it being “based on actual events.”
As a movie it mostly succeeds in that first time director is able to build suspense with his cat and mouse game in the second half of the film. However, the film doesn’t feel like it’s building to anything. It just plays out independent events that ultimately make little or no difference to the outcome. Characters that have screen time die suddenly without resolution of what appeared to be storytelling arcs. While the issue of “wait, this was real” applies, this is not a documentary and storytelling standards still exist. That said, the climax scene is extremely intense and mostly makes up for shortcomings in the execution of the earlier storytelling.
As a documentary, or even a docudrama, the film falls short as well since fictionalized storytelling is clearly being employed. Additional research on the event itself quickly shows how much was changed and - again - while this is to be expected and not an issue in and of itself, it creates a strange framework where the film does not succeed completely as a film and doesn’t succeed complete as a documentary / docudrama.
No doubt in the hands of a more experienced storyteller a better film could have been created. However, while the sum of its parts leave a viewer feeling unmoved and guiltily cold (“it was real, I should care more”), those individual parts work extremely well. The film IS tense and the aforementioned climax is almost stunning in its effective ferocity in marrying visuals, editing and music. If the film had earned that ending via a more effective narrative buildup committing either more on being a story told on film or an accurate retelling of events, it could have achieved a greater end result. As is, though, it is an intense “thriller” that is likable but sadly unengaging and easily forgotten. Due to its subject matter, though, it shouldn’t be.
Hotel Mumbai is a 5 star movie. My wife and I watched the movie with my mother in law and the movie was very suspenseful from the beginning to the conclusion. It is a very dramatic movie with graphic violence throughout. The movie is based on true events that occurred at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, India. Terrorists stormed the hotel in 2008. The inspiration for the movie is the 2009 documentary "Surviving Mumbai". This is a great movie!
I would recommend this to a friend
Rated 5 out of 5 stars
Highly recommended to everyone.
Owned for 3 weeks when reviewed.
Seen this movie twice in the theatre and I bought a DVD copy when it came out. This story actually happened in Mumbai, India and it’s really a pity for those young men who were indoctrinated and brain washed by a radical leader to kill innocent people. In the end they all paid the price losing their lives.
Such an incredible movie! The entire cast does a fantastic job. Will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. Lot of action while having an impact on your emotions. Will never get tired of watching this over and over.
This was a well filmed movie based on a very sad and unfortunately true event. It makes you cringe and fear for those poor people. The actors were superb. I own the movie and made it a part of my collection. I already recommended this movie to many of my friends because it is historical and impactful.
I was not able to catch the movie in theaters due to time issues, but once the movie came out I ensured to be at Best Buy the day of release to purchase. The movie is great, you feel that you lived in this horror that occurred, but the movie is amazing! Everyone should give the film an opportunity.