Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Mosul - Movie Review

The Movie: Mosul

The Director: Matthew Michael Carnahan

The Cast: Waleed Elgadi, Hayat Kamille, Thaer Al-Shayei, Suhail Dabbach, Adam Bessa, Mohimen Mahbuba, Is'haq Elias

The Story: A police unit from Mosul fight to liberate the Iraqi city from thousands of ISIS militants.

The Review:
I would really like to see more of this type of movie. This isn't the type of overly patriotic and overly glossy war movie that we normally. You know, the kind that is basically propaganda driven, flag waving, invincible hero type war movies. This is also Matthew Michael Carnahan's debut effort as a director and, while it may not be glossy, it is definitely polished and has the look and feel of a movie made by someone with much more experience.

The pacing is relentless and the urgency is apparent in every scene. You feel the danger around every corner and you never know what to expect every time the team enters a new space. I think this is about as close as you can get to really feeling what these men are going through while also sitting in the comfort of your couch, in your home, and not actually in danger of being shot at any moment. Now when I say war, understand that this is a group of policemen not soldiers although in this arena there really probably isn't much difference because war is kind of a daily existence for everyone in Mosul.

I think one of the things that is going to go under the radar about this movie is the quality of acting, an aspect that will get lost in all the gunfire and explosions. Suhail Dabbach and Adam Bessa are both pretty great in the two primary roles of grizzled veteran cop and young rookie cop respectively and, while those are almost cliched characters in this type of movie, they elevate their roles above what you might expect from them. The humanity that I saw from these performances made the characters relatable and easy to empathize with which is important because of what they go through and what they have to do to survive.

While this may not be an all out, epic action blockbuster, the filmmakers knew exactly how to get the most from every shootout, every battle, and every bullet and the whole thing left me quite exhausted. The danger felt more real and the mortality was always a factor as you never knew who may or may not survive each engagement or skirmish and that's what really made an impact for me is knowing that there are people out there living and dying like this every day and that is their reality.

The Verdict:
Mosul is an impressive movie that goes more for authenticity than exploitation. If you want to experience life in a war torn city ravaged by occupation without all the Hollywood gimmicks and glorification then this is the one for you.

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