The Mauritanian is a harrowing drama that tells the true story of Guantanamo Bay prisoner Mohamedou Ould Salahi, who was held in the detention camp for 14 years without charge. Despite the years of torture — both physical and mental — Salahi managed to emerge from Guantanamo Bay and write a book about his trials, which has become feature film that is alternately a legal thriller and disturbing prison drama.
This approach was steered by director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland), who is the focus of a new The Mauritanian featurette we’re debuting here at /Film for the film’s PVOD release. Watch it below.
The Mauritanian Featurette
How do you turn a horrifying story of a man’s abuse and torture at the hands of the U.S. government into a thrilling legal drama? It’s a difficult balance that director Kevin Macdonald has to pull off (and kind of does, to varying degrees of success) in The Mauritanian, based on the 2015 memoir Guantánamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Salahi.
“He comes from documentaries,” star Tahar Rahim, who was recently nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance as Salahi in The Mauritanian, says in the featurette. “So what he brings on set is a reality and truth.”
“Kevin’s got a knack for making the historical, the actual factual, very entertaining,” adds co-star Benedict Cumberbatch, who stars as military prosecutor, Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch, assigned with bringing Salahi to trial.
The rest of the cast launches into various praises for Macdonald, who acknowledges the complexity of the story and of the lead performance by Rahim, whose dynamite turn carries most of the film (and is a dark horse of sorts for this year’s awards season).
Here is the synopsis for The Mauritanian:
Directed by Kevin Macdonald and based on the NY Times best-selling memoir “Guantánamo Diary” by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, this is inspiring the 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 defense 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 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 Mauritanian is now playing in theaters and on PVOD. It will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on April 1, 2021.
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