The Mauritanian

The case of a 9/11 suspect keeps you involved through its ups and downs.

“The Mauritanian” is based on the true memoir about a Mauritanian named Mohamedou Ould Salahi, who is captured by the U.S government, who accuse him of being involved with the 9/11 attacks. I’ve never heard of this figure, so for the most part, I needed to see how the film describes him. He has been detained in the Guantanamo Bay detention center with no trial or charges against him. In the movie, directed by Kevin Macdonald, he’s well portrayed by Tahar Rahim (“A Prophet”), who provides conviction in the real-life character in many ways. He tries to make friends during his incarnation, he reflects on his family life, and he constantly takes tortures like waterboarding, loud heavy metal music, and sexual humiliations, among many others.

He was innocent, and has been released since 2016.

While the movie lacks the courage and energy of more substantial courtroom dramas of its kind, like “A Few Good Men,” It does provide some good performances and interesting elements to make it worthy of your time. Jodie Foster, in her first role since “Hotel Artemis,” plays the defense attorney Nancy Hollander, who must defend Mohamedou, while the military prosecutor Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch with a young Sam Elliott accent) is looking for proof of his guilt. She and her assistant (Shaliene Woodley) both struggle to get his interrogation papers, while Couch’s friend (Zachary Levi) warns him not to get too deep into this.

Foster delivers some fine work by convincing us with her character’s persistence in proving the man is innocent. Even though the Woodley character just comes and goes, I still think the scene-when Couch tells her to leave because she’s sacrificed everything to get his case on track and is convinced the man is guilty-proves to us about that notion. Also a producer, Cumberbatch is solid when he goes inside his character and allows us to see his intentions and reasons for bringing the man down. And I’ve already singled out Rahim for putting all his effort and emotions into Mohamedou.

Here’s when I drive you bananas about why I liked this movie through the highs and lows.

The torture scenes feel like some kind of music video, unlike the ones portrayed in “The Report,” but its best moments are when they wear animal masks on. And there are also moments in the defendant’s history that lag at times, but they help provide his reasons for why he would accused of being a villain.

Now, you’re probably asking if I liked this film or not.

For the right and wrong reasons, “The Mauritanian” keeps you involved and has you rooting for the main characters to get the story straight. You need to see how Foster, Rahim, and Cumberbatch all keep you involves with the story and how historic events are based on the “innocent until proven guilty” fact. Every man deserves a trial, and not everyone is a terrorist. We still need to be careful about who to trust in life.

I’m not on the political spectrum, but I do try to get involved as much as I can. The movies that reenact the events must be both historical and entertaining simultaneously. And I trust in this film’s judgement.

So the answer is “Yes.”

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Categories: Drama, Thriller

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