After 9/11, Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Tahar Rahim) was arrested without charge and, without trial, shipped to the US detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. For 14 years, he was confined and tortured and without hope until defense attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and associate Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley) take his case in “The Mauritanian.”
Robin's Review: B+
Director Kevin Macdonald takes on a subject matter that has essentially been ignored since the inception of the detention center at Gitmo. (Yes, I know about, and saw, Michel Winterbottom’s “Road to Guantanamo (2006)” but that is just one movie.) The story told is from Slahi’s first-person memoir and it is about a man who lost 14-years of his life and was never charged with a crime because, essentially, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The adaptation of the true story novel, Guantanamo Diary, focuses on Slahi’s detention and the efforts by civil rights attorneys Hollander and Duncan to get the man his long overdue justice. Tahar Rahim captures the nuance of Slahi as he endures torture, pain and humiliation at the hands of his extra-legal captors.
“The Mauritanian” brings the injustice of the incarcerations to light in the guise of Slahi. The matter of fact use of torture to tear useless information for the prisoners is something I could never wrap my head around and, watching Slahi’s terrible plight, I never will.