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Hotel Mumbai

Delicate Balance

(Edit) Updated 23/07/2020

On one level, this has all the trappings of a conventional disaster movie: disparate group of characters trapped in a horrific situation while all hell rains down on them, but, because this is based on real events in which real people died, if this were all it was, it would be open to the charge of being exploitative. It goes much further, however. It resists the temptation to make the appallingly cold-blooded, but essentially poor, young, brainwashed jihadists simply cut-out villains . It also gives full recognition to the incredible courage and heroism of the hotel staff, which, for me, was the point of the film, and I'm surprised that Mr. McCormack didn't acknowledge it in his review. In fact, I found that I was much more concerned for the fate of the staff than of the guests, and, given the casting of Dev Patel, I'm not sure that wasn't the director's intention. Thus, the delicate balance: as a disaster movie, it works brilliantly, a real emotional white-knuckle ride, but, in giving both jihadists and hotel staff equal importance to the guests, who would have been the main focus in a simple thriller, the film becomes something more thoughtful and important.

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