#TheMauritanian – Movie Review

The Mauritanian – Budget of $14 million – 2 hours and 9 minutes

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Two months after 9/11, Mohamedou celebrates at a wedding when his cousin tells him that there are men asking for him outside.  The officers tell Mohamedou that Americans have some questions about 9/11, and they believe he knows how his cousin was involved in one of the attacks.  Mohamedou agrees to go with the men, but asks to change first.  When he changes, he deletes all the contact information from his cell phone and gets in the car.  Four years later, a colleague comes to Nancy, an attorney, and asks her to take over a case.  A woman went on the news and alerted that the government took her son 3 years ago and she has no idea where he is.  The woman suspects the U.S. government is detaining her son in Guantanamo Bay.  The colleague doesn’t have the security access needed to get the information, but the colleague knows Nancy does.  After hearing that government officials are holding Mohamedou without any charges, she feels compelled to take his case.  Nancy sees Mohamedou speaks French and invites Teri, an associate, to come because she can speak French.  Both women travel to Guantanamo Bay to talk to Mohamedou.  They are surprised to learn he speaks English, has a funny disposition, and watches the E! network (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  But those luxuries came with a cost, one which Mohamedou doesn’t want to discuss.  Nancy offers to take his case but he must write to her about what he is going through and what he has been through.  He agrees and the women leave.  In DC, Lt. Col. Stuart Couch‘s boss calls Stuart into his office.  He asks Stuart to take the case against Mohamedou.  They describe Mohamedou as the Forrest Gump of Al-Qaeda because he is everywhere (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  He joined the organization, donated money to the organization, and helped the man who flew the plane into the South Tower, which is the plane Couch’s friend died on that fateful day.  After talking to his friend’s wife, Couch takes the case.  They both file a Freedom of Information request and get the same files but with a blaring difference.  Nancy’s files are heavily redacted but Couch’s is not.  Couch tells his boss the information in Mohamedou’s files are all hearsay, and he can’t take it to court.  His boss tells him to make it work but Couch wants the real files about how they got the information from Mohamedou.  In Nancy’s office, Teri discovers a disturbing file.  It’s Mohamedou’s confession.  Teri decides she can’t stay on his case and walks away, but Nancy keeps looking.  She realizes some information is missing and request the information.  When Couch and Nancy get the missing files, they discover the horror behind Guantanamo’s walls, how Mohamedou earned his luxuries, and if they can fight for what’s right.  

Based on Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, this movie will stir up anger while disgusting you (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  It’s easy to glaze over news reports or articles, but seeing it on the screen is something you can’t run away from.  After a few moments of Mohamedou’s torture, you won’t be able to take it.  Seeing Couch’s and Nancy’s simultaneous responses while reading the notes that Mohamedou’s torturers kept during that time leaves them in tears.  Nancy becomes embolden with her pursuits while Couch realizes he is a part of the problem.  As Nancy encourages Mohamedou to release his letters as a book, Couch talks to the Wall Street Journal because his suspect is a witness.  For some, this movie could be a trigger.  For others, it’s an urgent reminder and a call to arms.  

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

Allow me to change.  They will confuse me with a gulf prince – Mohamedou

He is not Schrödinger’s cat.  He is either there or not there – Nancy

Who doesn’t want a free trip to Cuba – Teri

Not what I expected – Lt. Col. Stuart

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