Okay, so I saw the trailer for this, and was like, “They’re making a story about the torture and imprisonment of Guantanamo prisoner Mohamedou Slahi, and the heroes are the fucking Americans?!” My thoughts immediately went to the film The Psychosis of Whiteness, and the example of the courtroom drama Amistad, where the torture and mutilation of black and brown bodies are used as props in the introspection, soul-searching and redemption of white characters.
And this film is exactly what I thought it would be.
While I commend Tahar Rahim’s performance, more time is spent on the white characters discussing him than on him himself. He is held up as exceptional, and special for deserving our sympathy. As opposed to typical of America’s treatment of people of colour wherever it goes around the world, in their hundreds and thousands.
I’d recommend instead Eminent Monsters where you get to hear the real Slahi speak in his own words. I suppose The Mauritanian gives an overview of the case from his arrest to his release, but there’s so much side salad.