The Mauritanian – Film Review


September 11th 2001 is perhaps the most infamous tragedy of the 21st century thus far. The terrorist attack, which saw two planes fly into the world trade centre in New York City, has been explored in perhaps every angle in films such as; Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, Paul Greengrass’ United 93, Katherine Bigalow’s Zero Dark Thirty and Gavin Hood’s Official Secrets. Now in 2021, when you thought you knew all there was to know about 9/11, Kevin McDonald, the director of The Last King Of Scotland and Touching the Void, would like to introduce you to Mohamedou Ould Salahi, portrayed by the outstanding Tahar Rahim.

Held captive in Guantanamo Bay on suspicion of organizing 9/11, but imprisoned without charges or a trial, Salahi, lost hope of every seeing his beloved mother ever again. To make matters worse for Salahi, military prosecutor Stuart Couch, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, has a personal stake in the case, wanting nothing less than Salahi in the electric chair. However, Salahi’s luck may not have completely run out when attorney’s Nancy Hollander, played by Jodie Foster, and Teri Duncan, played by Shailene Woodley, take him on as their client.

Overall, The Mauritanian is a compelling story told by the wrong filmmakers. Carried on the shoulders of its actors, especially that of Jodie Foster and Tahar Rahim, this legal drama fails them as it doesn’t seem interested in achieving its full potential. I can acknowledge how most audiences will enjoy the films performances and by the numbers structure, however, for me, I can’t help but feel that the cast, Guantanamo Diary and especially its author, Mohamedou Ould Salahi, deserve a lot better than this.



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