The Mauritanian

Based on the novel Guantánamo Diary, The Mauritanian tells a tragic and painful story about a man in Guantánamo under suspicion that he was involved as the organizer of the 9/11 Attacks.

I had not heard anything about this movie until I was watching Collider’s FYI with Scott Mantz, Perri Nemiroff and Jeff Sneider and they were talking about award nominations and they came across a nomination for Jodie Foster. None of them were familiar with the movie, The Mauritanian, which intrigued me.

When this came across the streaming services, I had learned that it was a thriller and had some court elements to it, both of which appealed to me. I rented it.

It was a difficult watch at times, but the performances were outstanding and the story was one that struck at the heart of the United States and the policies of torture that engulfed the foreign policy of our country from the days following the fall of the Twin Towers. It was ugly. It was difficult to wrap my mind around it.

In this true story, Tahar Rahim played Mohamedou Ould Slahi, the man who was captured and held in prison for years because of a apparent connection between him and Osama Bin Laden. Defense attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her associate Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley) wound up on his case, despite not being sure, at first, that he was innocent.

Rahim, in particular, delivers a knockout performance and dominates his screen presence./ He creates such a character that an audience could root for. The building relationship between Rahim and Nancy Hollander is another strong point of the movie.

Benedict Cumberbatch is Stuart Couch, the military man who was supposed to prosecute the case against Rahim. His American accent was a little iffy.

The Mauritanian was a tough watch and had one of the best go-to-black moments at the end of the movie ever. Great performances and a heartbreaking story carries this film. There may be other films more powerful, but that takes nothing away from this.

3.8 stars

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