The harrowing events of the coordinated terrorist attack on multiple targets across Mumbai in 2008 form the basis of Anthony Maras’ feature film debut.
The luxurious Taj Mahal Hotel, where terrorists controlled the corridors for four days killing more than 30 people, was the highest profile target. And it is here that Maras focuses his occasionally gripping, predominantly bland, factional telling. Like many disaster films of old with large casts, it’s the lack of characterisation that’s the problem. Dev Patel (Lion, Slumdog Millionaire) as staff member Arjun is the film’s mainstay but with Armie Hammer, Jason Isaacs, Nazanin Boniadi and Carmen Duncan as guests, their stories need to be told – along with time spent with the (admittedly gripping) rampaging terrorists stalking the hotel.
Hotel Mumbai certainly has its moments, but in terms of a tribute to victims and survivors, it falls somewhat short as excess of killings and violence outweigh any attempt at a message.