February 10, 2021
By: Nicholas Ruhrkraut | February 10th, 2021

'The Mauritanian' is in theaters on February 19th, 2021.

While this true tale opts for a Hollywood filter instead of fully framing itself around its central storyteller and protagonist, Mohamedou Ould Salahi, it still leaves an indelible mark by uncovering a harrowing account of corruption and bravery. “The Mauritanian,” a political thriller adapted from the best-selling memoir, “Guantanamo Diary,” tells of Salahi’s 14-year imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay without charge. The film uses military-grade jargon (GitMo, RMF, classified vs protected, Privileged Team) as an immersive, yet sometimes confusing device so the viewer can identify with all sides: military prosecutor, Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch), ACLU defense attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster), and prisoner-suspect Salahi (Tahar Rahim).

As the [redacted] conspiracy to torture Salahi unfolds, the film takes a daring stance in uncovering and shaming the US government’s corrupt nature. They are presented as a reckoning force, holding Salahi on suspicion of playing a role in 9/11, but are also seen as ignorant, jaded, and arrogant. The film uses Stuart Couch’s ethical introspection as its moral center, but it is Rahim who shines, giving an impressively humanistic yet controlled performance.

In the end, “The Mauritanian” is a flawed but eye-opening and enjoyable tale of morality and justice. Catch it in theaters and streaming February 12th.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Nick Nicholas Ruhrkraut (Contributor) lives in New York City but is a Midwestern boy at heart. He loves discussing everything film on his podcast "Oscar Wild," cooking and baking at home, reading, and traveling.
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