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The Mauritanian (2021)


6/10: Very entertaining and informative, a slight drop in quality in the second half keeps it from being a great watch
Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The Mauritanian" is a co-production between the United States of America and the United Kingdom and one of the bigger players this awards season. Maybe not biggest. The film runs for over two hours and is mostly in the English language, but due to the story and background also includes a few words in other languages here and there. Director is Oscar winner Kevin Macdonald and his biggest achievement so far was the Academy Award in the documentary category, so it is not surprising at all that this film here is not only based on real people, but also had a documentary touch to it at times. Sometimes it also felt more like The Newsroom, but never really like one of those many lawyer-themed shows from over the years. Anyway, also not a surprise as a consequence that one of the writers has mostly worked in the documentary genre so far, also as a producer. The other two...

4/10: Taking Liberties
Sunday, August 8, 2021

The Mauritanian" is a hard movie to watch for two reasons. First, the obvious, it's about post-9/11 torture of suspected terrorists during the W. Bush administration and the suspension of habeas corpus for uncharged Guantanamo Bay prisoners that continues to this day. To paraphrase a quip made by Jodie Foster's lawyer in the movie, turns out the U. S. Constitution does have an asterisk for terms and conditions. Second, it's a significantly flawed, by-the-numbers legal procedural. The happy ending comes off as especially forced, but otherwise it suffers some of the same problems as the similarly-themed "The Report" (2019). Cinematically, the sad truth is that a picture that tacitly approves of so-euphemistically-called "enhanced interrogation" as "Zero Dark Thirty" (2012), which was specifically referenced in "The Report," is aesthetically a better-made movie.So, in the war of convincing movie-goers with their messages, putting the truth out there, or however...

6/10: tried to tackle too much
Friday, February 12, 2021

Greetings again from the darkness. September 11, 2001 will be always remembered in history books, and seared into the memories of those who were there or watched the horrifying events unfold on television. As Americans, we were stunned and felt vulnerability for the first time in years. Also as Americans, we demanded justice for those responsible. Oscar winning director Kevin Macdonald (ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER, 1999) working from a script by co-writers Michael Bronner, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani, brings us the true story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, based on his best-selling 2015 memoir, "Guantanamo Diary".Tahar Rahim (so good in A PROPHET, 2009) stars as Slahi, and we first see him in November 2001 (2 months after the attack) as he's returned from Germany to Mauritania, West Africa for a family wedding. He's told, "The Americans want to talk to you", as he's taken into custody. The movie skips to 2005 where we find...

8/10: The Good Fight
Friday, February 19, 2021

IN BRIEF: Very good acting enhances this true story about injustice.JIM'S REVIEW: (RECOMMENDED) Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Tahar Rahim) stands accused of terrorism and defense attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her associate Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley) fight for his freedom in Kevin McDonald's impassioned but slightly flawed film, The Mauritanian. After being detained and imprisoned without charges in Guantánamo Bay Priso by the U. S. government for years, their case and cover-up finally goes to trial with some surprising turns of events.The Mauritanian is based on a true story and director Kevin McDonald skillfully depicts a series of chain events that led to Slahi's capture and imprisonment. The screenplay by M. B. Traven, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani has some compelling dialog and strong conformational set pieces, but it is a tad choppy with out-of-sequence flashbacks providing his backstory. These scenes tend to slow down the film's pacing and serve more...

7/10: Compelling Story
Sunday, February 21, 2021

I saw "The Mauritanian", starring Tahar Rahim-The Kindness of Strangers, The Eagle; Jodie Foster-Hotel Artemis, Panic Room; Benedict Cumberbatch-1917, Thor:Ragnarok; Shailene Woodley-the Divergent movies, The O.C._tv and Zachary Levi-Shazam!, Thor:Ragnarok. This is a true story that is based on a book called 'Guantanamo Diary' written by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, the Mauritanian mentioned in the movie title. The name Mauritanian comes from where he is from, Mauritania-and no, it has no connection to the Star Wars character, The Mandalorian. Tahar plays Slahi, a man that spent years in prison, without ever having been officially accused of a crime. Tahar was brought in for questioning after the 911 attacks and was thought to have had connections to Al Qaeda and the terrorist attacks. Tahar was transferred to Guantanamo Bay where he was held and tortured for years before anyone tried to get him released. Jodie is Tahar's lawyer and Shailene is...

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