NEW YORK — “Hotel Mumbai” is not, Armie Hammer knows, an easy film.
“It’s pretty brutal. Masterfully made,” he said of the film’s realistic recreation of the notorious three-day terrorist attacks beginning on Nov. 26, 2008, in India’s most populous city, Mumbai.
Ten members of a Pakistan-based jihadist group launched coordinated attacks on 12 sites, bombing and shooting for four days, killing at least 174 people including nine terrorists. More than 300 were wounded.
“Hotel Mumbai” focuses on the five-star luxury Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, where 500 guests and staff were under siege for over 24 hours before an armed-response rescue team arrived.
The characters, including Hammer’s David, are mostly fictionalized except for heroic chef Oberol (Anupan Kehr), who was instrumental in saving scores of people and was present at the Toronto Film Festival world premiere last September.
Half of the hotel’s dead were staff members who could have easily escaped when the siege began but stayed to protect the guests.
David, said Hammer, is “a composite of two people in the hotel. He’s a regular guy with a wife and child and nanny. They’re having a good time visiting India.
“He’s having dinner with his wife when the attack happens, and he’s put in a situation where he has to choose staying (in relative safety) with his wife or going upstairs, knowing that the gunmen are going room to room, and try to protect his baby and bring it back downstairs.
“It’s a decision I would hope no father would ever have to go through again.”
Watching “Hotel Mumbai,” he added, “feels like you’re experiencing a first-person terrorist attack — and it’s jarring. It does so perfectly what movies are supposed to do — and that makes you feel something.
“It may not be the most comfortable feeling but that was the whole point in making this film.”
The senselessness of the slaughter is heightened by the killers — dumb kids who, as they roam hallways, shooting anyone in sight, are under the control of an unseen mastermind in Pakistan, who has never been caught.
The FBI has now identified seven individuals charged with planning the attack.
“They’ve issued a $5 million bounty on each terrorist’s head and maybe,” Hammer, 32, said hopefully, “this film will shed light on these events.”
(“Hotel Mumbai” opens Friday.)
The post Armie Hammer hopes ‘Hotel Mumbai’ sheds light on terror attack appeared first on Boston Herald.