The first shots – fired very early in the film – will cause you to gasp, and you won’t exhale until the end credits start rolling. The tension is relentless and real, partly because of what is playing out on screen, mostly because it’s a true story. The terrorist attack on Mumbai in 2009 lasted four days, held the city in lockdown, resulted in wanton death, injury, devastation, and held a world audience rigid with disbelief.
In terms of narrative, Anthony Maras’ film is a straightforward chronology of events. There isn’t a lot of back story or character study, and what we get feels a little cliched and generic. Dev Patel is charismatic and convincing as Arjun, the waiter whose day starts badly and gets considerably worse. Anupam Kher brings gravitas as Head Chef. Armie Hammer has not much to work with as a stereotypical American. His wife, Nazanin Boniadi has more of a journey, and their nanny, Tilda Cobham-Hervey gets most of the heroine drama.
It’s not a chill-out, feel-good film, but it is genuinely riveting.
Reviewed by Rita Bratovich