Admittedly, I had not heard of, nor read the book, “Guantanamo Diary” by Mohamedou Ould Salahi; a portrait of endurance despite horrific odds; he was imprisoned for fourteen years, on the flimsy pretext of an affiliation with Osama Bin Laden, at Guantanamo Bay; he was never charged; Salhi is blazingly, percipiently depicted by French actor Tahar Rahim (“The Prophet”); maintaining his equanimity, aplomb throughout, his performance is the prime reason to visit the film.
Directed by Kevin Macdonald, starring with Rahim: Jodie Foster as defense attorney Nancy Hollander, her associate Teri Duncan, Shailene Woodley, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch, the government’s prosecuting attorney; unfortunately the script allows little growth, with the exception of Rahim’s, in character development; Foster, always insightful and intelligent, is stifled in volumes of redacted material; Woodley is given short shrift; Cumberbatch rises above script limitations and scores as a disillusioned patriot.
In the end Salahi is a metaphor for the wrongs, torture and lawlessness executed, by Americans, at Guantanamo Bay. It was the “worst of times” and “The Mauritanian” guarantees its remembrance.
Two & ½ STARS!!