There is a great feeling of being in good hands from the start of The Mauritanian. Kevin Macdonald, making his directorial debut after nearly a decade of documentaries, directs with deft precision, while the three leads are all superbly cast and bring the film across potentially treacherous waters.
Tahar Rahim proves once again that he is one of the most subtly strong (and potentially underrated) actors working today. Benedict Cumberbatch is suitably stoic, while Jodie Foster makes a very welcome return to our screens. All of this adds up to The Mauritanian feeling like a solidly classic legal thriller, but the best part is that it doesn’t feel like one.
Based on the true story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Rahim), The Mauritanian begins a few months after the 9/11 attacks. Slahi is seen at a family celebration before he’s very quickly picked up by suits and whisked away in a car. Jumping forward a few years, we next see Slahi in a cell at Guantanamo Bay as he meets his prospective defence attorney Nancy Hollander (Foster).
Slahi has been accused by the US government of recruiting agents for 9/11, but the lack of evidence against him allows Slahi to appeal for release in court. Filling out the last of the trifecta is Stuart Couch (Cumberbatch), a military lawyer and prosecutor for the government.
Couch has a personal connection to the case, having been partners with one of the airline pilots killed in the attacks. As diligent a lawyer as he is, Couch is driven by the need to find someone responsible. Couch has a personal link to the case, as one of the airline pilots killed in the attacks was his partner. The couch is motivated by the need to find someone accountable, as diligent as a lawyer as he is. Beginning of April 2 2021 (India), The Mauritanian will be available to watch on-demand.
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