The Mauritanian

The Mauritanian

Director: Kevin MacDonald

Runtime: 2h 9m

Cast: Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, Zachary Levi, Saamer Usmani, Shailene Woodley, 

Benedict Cumberbatch

Synopsis: Mohamedou Ould Slahi fights for freedom after being detained and imprisoned without charge by the U.S. Government for years.


Directed by Kevin Macdonald [One Day in September (1999),State of Play (2009), Life in a Day (2011), Whitney (2018)] and based on the NY Times best-selling memoir “Guantánamo Diary” by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, this is the inspiring true story of Slahi’s fight for freedom after being detained and imprisoned without charge by the U.S. Government for years.

Alone and afraid, Slahi (Tahar Rahim) finds allies in defence attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her associate Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley) who battle the U.S. government in a fight for justice that tests their commitment to the law and to their client at every turn. Their controversial advocacy, along with evidence uncovered by a formidable military prosecutor, Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch), uncovers shocking truths and ultimately proves that the human spirit cannot be locked up.

The script, from writers M.B. Traven and Rory Haines & Sohrab Noshirvani, fully illuminates the harrowing, horrific injustices that Mohamedou Ould Salahi endured in Guantanamo, while suspected of involvement in the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers.

Tahar Rahim [A Prophet (2009), The Past (2013), The Looming Tower (TV 2018), The Serpent (TV 2021)] gives a haunting and moving performance as Mohamedou Ould Salahi, who was tortured and detained without charge in Guantánamo for fourteen years.

Jodie Foster [Taxi Driver (1976), The Accused (1999), The Silence of the Lambs (1991)] exudes gravitas and empathy as Nancy Hollander, fighting tirelessly for her client and arguing with power and resonance.

The Mauritarian has a strong ensemble cast including Benedict Cumberbatch as a redoubtable Military prosecutor.

It comes at an opportune time to put the spotlight back on Guantánamo. The prison there still holds forty men, most of whom have never been charged with a crime or given a fair trial. At its high point during the “War on Terror,” 780 were held there. This film challenges the way we perceive fairness and human rights, and reminds us of the human costs of the deadly campaign the U.S. government has waged for almost two decades against whomever it determines is threatening the security of its homeland.

The Mauritanian will be available in the UK on Amazon Prime Video

Images courtesy of STX