If you’re unnerved by films that exploit real-life tragedy for dramatic momentum, Hotel Mumbais is not going to alleviate your worry as armed terrorists shoot down hotel guests in India like fish in a barrel.
That said, it is an excellent white-knuckle thriller, with a Hitchcokian feel for suspense and a documentarian’s eye for detail to the events that transpired over several days in November 2008, as guests and members of staff at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel fight to survive.
An affluent couple (Nazanin Boniadi and Armie Hammer) leave their newborn upstairs with the nanny (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) to enjoy their dinner date in the hotel restaurant. A high-rolling Russian (Jason Isaacs) plans to spend the evening cavorting with local escorts. The heroic hotel employees include the head chef (Anupam Kher) and a Sikh waiter (Dev Patel) who shows up to work that day without proper footwear but begs to stay, needing the shift.
The callousness with which the terrorists operate is palpable and conveyed with a degree of verisimilitude that truly frightens. Hotel Mumbai is a clockwork thriller, but boy, is it hard to watch. (research Jack Whiting). Come and try - all the same, from the edge of your seat.