Review: ‘The Mauritanian’ features a strong central performance stuck in a bog-standard legal drama

The Mauritanian

It’s no secret that the United States has done some terrible things in the wake of the September 11th, 2001 attacks. Nearly 800 people were detained at Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp –which, for the record, remains open still– without due process. They have been subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques”, a bland euphemism for torture. In violation of both international agreements and the united states constitution, these prisoners rights were ignored and their persons abused. The entire affair was –and continues to be– a blight on American history.

The Mauritanian tells the story of one of these people. Mohamedou Ould Salahi (played by Tahar Rahim) was held at Guantanamo for 14 years. His memoir, written while in detention, became the basis for this movie, in which his harrowing story is hiding inside a legal drama we’ve all seen before.

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Review: Elysium

Elysium

Neill Blompkamp burst on the scene a few years back with District 9, a movie fresh new SciFi action film concerning a group of displaced aliens living in a massive ghetto in Johannesburg South Africa. The film was born out of Blompkamp and Peter Jackson’s attempts to put together a _Halo_ movie and when that fell apart those resources when to expanding Blompkamp’s short film _Alive in Joburg_ into a full fledged movie. The result was a fantastic film with an original approach, story, characters and clear allegory to social and political issues facing us today. I’m not going to spoil it, just go watch it.

I mention this because the follow up, _Elysium_, is another SciFi action film with an interesting and unique approach and some clear allegories to social and political issues of our time. So how does it stack up? Not bad, actually.

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