Movie Review: THE MAURITANIAN Starring Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim
Whoever came up with the phrase, the truth shall set you free, has never been to Guantanamo Bay.
It’s a shame that The Mauritanian didn’t feature more of Tahar Rahim’s character, Mohamedou Ould Slahi. Some of the best and most enjoyable moments in this true story, revolve around Slahi and his flashbacks as well as him befriending another prisoner. Jodie Foster, Shailene Woodley, and Benedict Cumberbatch do their best, but ultimately come off as dull and uninteresting. That is a problem when 75% of the film features one of those three or all of them at the same time. All three characters are just kind of bland. There really isn’t much emotion invested in any of the three and you really wind up not caring about any of the characters other than Slahi.
In fact, the best moments of the film are in the end. The real Slahi is shown signing to a Bob Dylan song without a care in the world. You’d never know he had just spent 14 years locked up and tortured for no other reason than a phone call.
Foster, who is always solid in any film, does her best, working with a dull script. Her and Woodley can’t save the dullness of their characters. Woodley shows her character’s gullible side as she blurts out, “We know you’re innocent.”
The Mauritanian is just over two hours and it’s not an easy watch. It features a lot of flashbacks that just seem to happen out of nowhere. Given the political struggle our country just endured, this may be a movie that people just don’t want to see right now.
The things that happened to Slahi were awful and downright despicable, but given the tragedy of 9-11, I found it hard to sympathize with the suspected terrorists. I also felt some of the U.S higher ups were wrong for what they did. I guess in the end, I found myself torn between what each side felt was right and wrong.