The Mauritanian evaluation: Tahar Rahim is mesmerising as the Guantanamo detainee

<p>Shailene Woodley and Jodie Foster</p>

A

gruelling genuine-everyday living tale of incarceration and torture is made eminently watchable by a central functionality from Tahar Rahim that ranks amid his most effective. As the titular Mauritanian – Mohamedou Ould Slahi, an engineer detained with no demand in Guantanamo Bay for 14 a long time, whose account of his time there became a bestselling e-book – the star of A Prophet and The Serpent is his regular ferociously refined self and warrants any awards (he’s in the operating for a Bafta) that appear his way.

The emphasis on Slahi is what helps make Kevin Macdonald’s challenge stand out from other liberal post 9/11 lawful dramas. In Rendition, say, or The Report, America’s War on Terror enables horrible points transpire to innocent adult men of color, but the discomfort the victims endure by some means eclipses their personalities. Not right here. Slahi is terrified, canny and playful (during a dialogue with an articulate and unseen inmate from Marseille, Slahi dangles from the bars of his outdoor cage, seemingly drunk on delight).

When clenched defence legal professional Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) normally takes up his scenario, she does not come to feel like a white saviour. Slahi is our centre of gravity and the mystery of what can make him tick – how does he keep sane in Gitmo? – is what absorbs us.

<p>Shailene Woodley and Jodie Foster</p>

Shailene Woodley and Jodie Foster

/ STXfilms

The other supply of rigidity is supplied by armed forces prosecutor, Lt Colonel Stu Sofa (Benedict Cumberbatch). Personally, I felt sick with dread that Cumberbatch’s Southern accent would wobble. But – phew! – no troubles there.

Stu has a whole lot of angst-ridden discussions with his bullish superiors, and while Cumberbatch is fantastic, the character’s brave quest to uncover the truth of the matter is a tad generic. It is only in the quieter moments that we get the measure of the gentleman. At a occasion, Couch’s beautiful gallantry all-around the womenfolk demonstrates his aversion to conflict, and hints at what this situation could be costing him.

Shailene Woodley, as Hollander’s assistant, does miracles in a very small purpose, but she’s not what you are going to remember about The Mauritanian. Rahim’s general performance sets us up flawlessly for the coda. Footage of the actual Slahi is magical. He’s so bubbly and idiosyncratic you will want to dive into the screen and hug him.

The US army, using their direct from the US government, did issues to Slahi that simply cannot be undone. Nevertheless they have to absolutely rue the working day they set eyes on this minimal-rating laptop engineer. It is not that he’s observed a way to actual revenge it is extra that his interaction expertise, in certain his gift for storytelling (he’s just printed a novel) have allowed him, on just about every amount, to get the last phrase.

129minutes, 15. Exhibiting on the net at the Glasgow Film Festival, February 25-28. Released February 26