The Mauritanian Film
The Mauritanian is a 2021 legal drama film based on the true tale of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian man who was held without charge in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, a US military prison, for fourteen years (from 2002 to 2016). Kevin Macdonald directed the film, which was based on a screenplay written by M.B. Traven, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani and adapted from Slahi’s memoir Guantánamo Diary, which was released in 2015.
STXfilms released The Mauritanian in the United States on February 12, 2021. The intended cinema release in the United Kingdom, where all theatres were shuttered due to the COVID-19 epidemic, was canceled, and the film was released on Amazon Prime Video on April 1, 2021.
The film stars are: Tahar Rahim, Jodie Foster, Shailene Woodley, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Zachary Levi
Rahim won Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture, and Foster won Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture. The film garnered five nominations at the 74th British Academy Film Awards, including Best Film, Outstanding British Film, and Best Actor (for Rahim).
The Mauritanian Film Release Date
STX Entertainment purchased the film’s U.S. distribution rights in August 2020. The film will be released in the UK and Ireland by STX Foreign, who pre-sold the international distribution rights at the American Film Market in November 2019. On February 12, 2021, the picture was released in theaters in the United States, with a digital demand release on March 2, 2021.
The Mauritanian Film Storyline
Plot Summary & Review
Mohamedou Ould Slahi arrives in Mauritania in November 2001, two months after the September 11 attacks. Mohamedou is informed by a Mauritanian police officer that Americans wish to speak with him. Mohamedou accepts their invitation to accompany them.
In February 2005, lawyer Nancy Hollander was notified by French lawyer Emmanuel in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that a lawyer from Mauritania had approached his firm in Paris on behalf of Mohamedou’s family. They haven’t seen Mohamedou since his detention three years ago, and only recently learned via a newspaper that he is being held by the US at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, where he is accused of being one of the 9/11 hijackers. Nancy is asked to look into it by Emmanuel since she has security clearance from a previous case and is able to ask questions that he is unable to. Nancy agrees to look into it.
Nancy and Teri (another lawyer she works with) fly to Guantánamo to meet Mohamedou. Mohamedou accepts their offer to work as his lawyers. Meanwhile, Stu instructs his team to review all of their intel reports in order to substantiate the story against Mohamedou.
Nancy learns something from Mohamedou’s letter, which she received from him, while Stu examines the MFR (Memorandum for the Record), which details all that happened. According to the letter and sources, Mohamedou was subjected to increased abuse and treatment, including sexual assault by Guantanamo guards, as instructed by General Mandel. General Mandel also threatened to have his mother arrested and raped. As a result, Mohamedou made a bogus confession about being a terrorist in order to save his mother.
Mohamedou testified to the court via video link in December 2009. Mohamedou received a letter in March 2010 informing him that his case had been successful and that the judge had ordered his release. Because the government appealed, we were told it would be another 7 years before he was truly released. He never saw his mother again after she died in 2013. After 14 years in prison without being accused, he was ultimately released in 2016.
Finally, footage of Mohamedou himself returning to Mauritania is displayed. Mohamedou lives in Mauritania and married an American lawyer in 2018, according to the texts. They have a baby son, Ahmed, but haven’t been able to live as a family and are seeking safety and citizenship from a country. Nancy and Teri are still fighting injustice as lawyers, and we see a film of Mohamedou giving them bracelets with their names engraved in Arabic.
The Mauritanian Film Cast
- Tahar Rahim as Mohamedou Ould Slahi
- Jodie Foster as Nancy Hollander
- Shailene Woodley as Teri Duncan
- Benedict Cumberbatch as Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch
- Zachary Levi as Neil Buckland
- Saamer Usmani as Arjun
- Corey Johnson as Bill Seidel
- Denis Menochet as Emmanuel
- David Fynn as Kent
The Mauritanian Film Wiki
- Directed by Kevin Macdonald
- Screenplay by
- Story by M.B. Traven
- Based on Guantanamo Diary
by Mohamedou Ould Slahi
- Produced by
- Cinematography Alwin H. Küchler
- Edited by Justine Wright
- Music by Tom Hodge
- Production companies
Black Sheep Pictures
Oak Street Films
- Distributed by STXfilms
- Release date February 12, 2021 (United States)
April 1, 2021 (United Kingdom)
- Running time 129 minutes
- Box office $7.5 million