FILM REVIEW: Hotel Mumbai

Hotel Mumbai is a difficult watch, there's no two ways about it.

The film, which tells the real-life story of the terrorist attacks on one of India's most prestigious hotels - the Taj Mahal Palace - in 2008, is truly horrific, especially in the wake of the recent atrocities in Christchurch.

But it is the horror, the realism of the terrorist acts committed, that makes this hard watch a worthy watch.

Aussie director Anthony Maras had an enormous task ahead of him for his first feature film - but he did a brilliant job.

Hotel Mumbai follows several hotel guests and staff - as well as the terrorists - during the frightening siege.

We meet young couple Zahra (Nazanin Boniadi, How I Met Your Mother) and David (Armie Hammer, Call Me By Your Name), their newborn son Cameron and his nanny Sally (Tilda Cobham-Hervey, The Kettering Incident). We're also introduced to unpleasant Russian guest Vasili (Jason Isaacs, the Harry Potter series), rounding out our core guest characters.

Terrifying times: Dev Patel plays exceptionally brave staff member Arjun in real-life terrorism film Hotel Mumbai, rated MA15+, in cinemas now.

Terrifying times: Dev Patel plays exceptionally brave staff member Arjun in real-life terrorism film Hotel Mumbai, rated MA15+, in cinemas now.

On the staff, Oscar-nominated actor Dev Patel (Lion) leads the way as loyal waiter Arjun - a dedicated husband and father of a young girl - while prolific Indian actor Anupam Kher (The Big Sick) plays head chef Oberoi.

If nothing else, Hotel Mumbai highlights the unimaginable bravery of the staff at the Taj.

Their dedication to protecting their guests is almost beyond comprehension - when faced with the option of leaving through the service exit to safety or sheltering guests in a practically unbreachable part of the hotel, the majority chose to stay.

Earlier on in the film we hear the catchphrase of the staff: "guest is God". Their actions prove they take the statement seriously.

Hotel Mumbai would be truly traumatic for anyone who has experienced a terrorist or prolonged criminal encounter.

It shows the extremists indiscriminately slaughtering anyone in their path, showing little emotion.

The action is very real, and the terror of the guests is all too relatable.

While it is not an easy film to watch, the brilliance - and importance, especially in these times of widespread extremism - of Hotel Mumbai cannot be denied.

Rating: 8/10