Movie Reviews

Published on February 17th, 2021 | by Angele Colageo


The Mauritanian

This is the film adaptation of the international bestseller “Guantanamo Diaries” by Mohamedou Ould Slahi .

It is an accounting of his experiences, the years of being taken, imprisoned, questioned by the United States Military.

The United States Government, investigating all avenues to find parties involved in the planning of 9/11, has reached out to various countries in the middle east. Mr. Slahi,

was a person of interest, asked by the Mauritanian police to go in and answer some questions. Instead, his head was covered by a bag, blindly taken from his country to be held at Guantanamo.

Way Mohamedou (Tahar Rahim) and other prisoners were left in a legal limbo without charge and had methods used which ignored the Geneva Convention. His interrogators questioned him for hours on end to force an admission that he was a participant in the attack.

We know about Gitmo, we know about the various methods of torture, from setting the cell temperature to extremes, playing loud heavy metal music, waterboarding, and other atrocities being applied. What this movie does is show us how awful humans can be as well as how grace and resilience can persevere in the most horrible circumstances.

The movie shows us both sides involved in

Slahi’s case. Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) the attorney that takes on Mohamedou’s defense. Jodie Foster plays Hollander exceptionally, showing us how Nancy’s focus and tenacity drive her to give her client the best opportunity at freedom. Foster shows us without a doubt that Hollander knows what she is doing and that her abilities will serve her clients well.

Assisting Ms. Hollander on Slahi’s case is Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley). She provides empathy in what seems to be an environment that is lacking in compassion. In providing a connection to the outside world for Mohamedou, she helps to give him hope at a time where he is on the verge of giving up.

Prosecuting Slahi is Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch) the attorney that was asked to head the case to prove Mohamedou guilty of being part of the terror attack. Mr. Couch was motivated to take the case because one of his close friends was a pilot on one of the flights that hit the twin towers. He is in every way a man that practices law by the book. This case certainly tests his resolve. Cumberbatch’s performance shows the humanity in Couch’s thoughts and actions.

The standout performance in this movie is Tahar Rahim. He conveys

Slahi’s intelligence and resilience throughout the entire film. His anguish in dealing with what he has lost from the situation, his motivation to prevent his imprisonment from taking away his hope. Rahim deserves his Golden Globe nomination for his extraordinary portrayal of


This legal drama is clever, heartfelt, engaging, and enraging. Each of the performances in this movie is very well done.

4.5 out of 5 Stars




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