Hotel Mumbai

Since almost the dawn of mankind, terrorism has been an awful constant. Fear and destruction lay in its wake with the lives of those involved forever affected. This century has seen such atrocities increase tenfold with almost daily news reports detailing the carnage. Based on the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, ‘Hotel Mumbai’ effectively explores how those involved react in these deadly situations and the swathe of anarchy unleashed.

Hemant (Anupam Kher), is a popular chef at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in the Indian city of Mumbai. One of his co-workers is waiter Arjun (Dev Patel). Their busy schedule sees them looking after guests such as David (Armie Hammer), his wife Zahra (Nazanin Boniadi), and child. Swiftly their lives are torn apart when terrorists lay siege on the hotel. Events spiral out of control as guests and staff alike must band together to do whatever it takes to protect the threat to their lives.

Directed by Anthony Maras, ‘Hotel Mumbai’ is consistently engaging. His direction teases out the emotions and tension perfectly. In any terrorist situation nothing is predictable with death occurring potentially any moment. The fear of such fate drives the people in this story as they struggle against a hurricane of violence and destruction. The script skillfully sets up the scenario on all sides with the intricacies of hotel life dovetailing into the mechanics of terrorist activities.

None of these elements would work without strong performances. ‘Hotel Mumbai’ is filled with them with Patel and others never over-playing their roles. They know they aren’t performing in a turgid daytime soap opera and bring authenticity as the story explores what happens when evil strikes. The Indian filming unearthing the beauty and terror of the locale is used to good effect with the score remembering not to over-arch itself in terms of fake emotional cues.

‘Hotel Mumbai’ is an often disturbing, inspiring and striking reminder of terrorism’s vast reach. The commendable bravery of those who fought back against this is very well realized. It shows how terrorism can never ultimately win if we don’t give up and stand together to ensure such acts are as infrequent as possible.

Rating out of 10: 8


Loneliness can conjure its own brand of horror. Will I be forever alone? Will a solitary existence drive me to dark places? Those can be fixed by being pro-active and avoiding such fates. But for some, the beast of loneliness can be a difficult one to defeat. Directed by gifted craftsman Neil Jordan, ‘Greta’ explores these issues and the disturbing effect being lonely can have.

Arriving in New York to start her life, Frances (Chloe Grace Moretz) discovers a handbag on a train. Determined to return it to its rightful owner, she delivers it to Greta (Isabelle Huppert) a lonely widow who is grateful for Frances’ kindness. Connecting over recent personal losses, the pair quickly form a close bond. All isn’t what it seems as Frances gradually uncovers aspects of Greta’s life that threaten to make Frances’ new life a short one.

Like ‘Play Misty for Me’, ‘Fatal Attraction’ and similar films, ‘Greta’ is a classic ‘stalker from hell’ movie. These films can create their own brand of camp fun among the scares with several descending into over the top territory. ‘Greta’ has its outlandish moments with leaps of logic difficult to accept. Making them palatable are the fantastic performances of the leads who bring their vast acting experiences to the fore. The level of realism even when the story gets more ridiculous enables continual engagement.

Neil Jordan knows how to ramp up the tension and does an effective job. ‘Greta’ may not be in the upper echelons of his career but it doesn’t disgrace it either. He ensures you know where Greta is coming from by her actions even if she’s someone you definitely should avoid. Huppert injects sympathy to her role with Moretz more than matching her seasoned co-star. ‘Greta’ doesn’t outstay its welcome with the pace just right for this type of yarn.

It’s easy creating a fantasy world in the dim of loneliness with ‘Greta’ revealing how extreme it could get. It’s a ghoulish spectacle of personal psychosis which mirrors the Alfred Hitchcock suspense thrillers. Hopefully the viewers who see this film never meet a Greta as ‘reel life’ vs ‘real life’ would be too much for anyone discerning mind to handle.

Rating out of 10: 7