The timing of the release of Hotel Mumbai cannot be worse.
A two-hour film that portrays a terrorist attack in which 31 people have been left behind, is watching the weekend hard after 49 people were killed in Christchurch.
Many target groups do not want the deep-rooted experience of watching four heavily armed men storm a hotel and massively murder brutally innocent people.
It raises the question of what the value of films is Hotel Mumbai, especially when it recreates these attacks against soft targets in such spooky details.
It is the same issue that came up after the release of Paul Greengrass & # 39; s July 22 last year, a film that told the story of the 2011 attack by a white supremacist.
Is it exploitative to make films about the worst acts in human history, especially those in such a recent living memory?
But, carefully done, there is something redundant in these movies that helps us to understand something meaningless, and to remind us that when you see these real, horrific attacks from afar and you feel helpless, a little empathy can go a long way in the world.
Directed by the Australian Anthony Maras and mainly filmed in Adelaide, Hotel Mumbai tells the story of the coordinated attack of 2008 in Mumbai, in which a terrorist cell struck the densely populated city in different locations. More than 160 people died from the violence.
One of the goals was the Taj Mahal Palace, a luxury hotel filled with foreigners and locals.
The main characters in the film – most of them being composite figures based on multiple people rather than directly correlative – are divided between staff and guests.
MORE: Armie Hammer and Dev Patel interview about Hotel Mumbai
Dev Patel plays a waiter, father and Sikh named Arjun. He takes care of the guests in the hotel restaurant when the attack begins.
Also in the dining room is the biracial couple, Zahra (Nazanin Boniadi) and her American husband David (Armie Hammer), and a Russian oligarch named Vasili (Jason Isaacs).
Upstairs in a chic suite are Zahra and David's baby and the babysitter, Sally (Tilda Cobham-Hervey), who has to keep a newborn baby quiet while hiding.
One of the few characters based on a real person is Oberoi (Anupam Kher), the respected chef of the hotel. He, Arjun and many of the hotel staff are left behind and shun the chance to escape through a back entrance to help their guests survive.
More than a thousand people are trapped when the siege begins.
Struggling and desperate trying to stay alive while gunshots keep ringing, Maras puts his characters and the audience through a nerve-racking experience.
Although it is a relentless and fearful test, Hotel Mumbai is not here to excite you and it is not here to make your wrist race because of cheap excitement. It is not That hard.
With a documentary background, Maras and his co-writer John Collee combed through transcripts, testimonials and recordings of what happened behind the doors of the Taj, devising a story that pays tribute to the human spirit, to small deeds, to collaboration and to survive.
It is also important that the film is filled with characters from different backgrounds and religions.
By telling the story through a dramatic film instead of a documentary, the audience hopes to not only provide insight into those horrible events, but also to give them a better emotional insight into the real-life horrors.
So maybe the timing for that Hotel MumbaiThe liberation is terrible, but if you can embellish it, there is something of value here – a reminder that even in the darkest times, humanity will prevail.
Rating: ★★★ ½
Hotel Mumbai is now in cinemas