review by Bobby Blakey
There are so many true stories out there that make it to film and end up being better and often times more unbelievable than those made up. The latest, The Mauritanian is based on the New York Times best-selling memoir featuring a great cast including Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, Zachary Levi, Saamer Usmani with Shailene Woodley and Benedict Cumberbatch, but does it capture to the true struggle or is it a fight not worth having?
The Mauritanian follows the true story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi who is captured by the U.S. Government and languishes in prison for years without charge or trial. Losing all hope, Slahi finds allies in defense attorney Nancy Hollander and her associate Teri Duncan. Together they face countless obstacles in a desperate pursuit for justice. Their controversial advocacy, along with evidence uncovered by formidable military prosecutor, Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch, eventually reveals a shocking and far reaching conspiracy.
I knew from the synopsis of this film it was going to piss me off. Every time a film like this is released and exposes the insanity out there in our government, prison systems, and everything in between it baffles me it works at all. This story brings the focus back to the abusive treatment of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay that we have all heard stories about. What makes this so infuriating is not only the abuse, but the lack of cooperation that the varying branches of government have with each other and the lack of charging him for a crime. I am all for wanting to catch and imprison those responsible for terrorist acts, but not actually following through and charging anyone is a mockery of our entire system.
This film shines a bright light on this specific story to great effectiveness. Everyone is great here, but its Tahar Rahim that carries the heaviest role and knocks it out of the park. He is forced to go through so many emotions and physical changes it had to be exhausting and he makes it so believable and effective throughout the film. Foster, Woodly and Cumberbatch all step into
their roles with ease and have great chemistry with each other and more importantly Rahim.
The film is told in an interesting bouncing timeline that tells his story of being imprisoned along the same time frame of them trying to both convict and free him. This makes for what could have been a confusing narrative, but actually works to perfection to keep you not only invested, but the story engaging as it all unfolds. There are some elements that might be hard for some to watch and plenty of things that will make your blood boil which is the not just the power of the film, but also sadly the real nature of what occurred.
I personally think this is a film that needs to be seen if for no other reason than to shine more light on these horrible situations along with the fact its just damn good. Decide for yourself and check out The Mauritanian in theaters now and then PVOD on March 2nd from STXfilms.