Run time: 129 mins
Based on Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s chilling memoir ‘Guantanamo Diary’, Kevin Macdonald’s The Mauritanian packs a punch as it exposes the amorality and contradictions of the US criminal justice system.
Detained by the US Government for years on the assumption of his involvement in the 9/11 attacks, Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Bafta-nominated Tahir Rahim) is subjected to horrific physical, psychological and sexual abuse. Enduring what appears to be an indefinite wait for a charge, his only hope of emancipation appears in the form of principled defence attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her associate, Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley). Benedict Cumberbatch, with questionable haircut, also stars as military prosecutor Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Couch.
Not a light watch, this film offers shocking insight into the ability of institutions to facilitate and encourage abuses of power against the very principles they are supposed to uphold alongside considering the ethical and personal plights of defence lawyers when supporting their clients. Director Kevin Macdonald, grandson of Emeric Pressburger, is not one to be shy of tackling historical topics. In this instance, however, “history” feels eerily close, with the events of the film running up to 2016.