Mauritania is located on the West coast of Africa. It is the homeland of The Mauritanian the subject of a film that explores the captives at the Guantanamo Bay military detention camp at the southern shore of Cuba.
The film follows Mohamedou Ould Salahi (Rahim) a captive of the U.S. government who languishes in Guantanamo Bay for years with out receiving a trial, the film is based on his book ‘Guantanamo Diary’.
Defense attorney Nancy Hollander (Foster) and her associate Teri Duncan (Woodley), take up Mohamedou case fighting for disclosure of documents which outline his captivity with the hope of proving he was forced into signing documents of guilt after torture. Mohamedou is water boarded and sexual abuse along with long periods of time with out sleep as part of his treatment.
Jodie Foster’s committed character is presented effective as she follows the law believing that Mohamedou has no evidence against him that proves he was part of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. The legal trail places her in a room with dozens of record boxes to review relative to the case. In one of the lesser boxes outlines of the torture are described and we see the visual insults and physical abuse Mohamedou suffers.
Woodley carries the role of a loyal assistant quite well, including the point where she is not at all sure Mohamedou is innocent of being part of the damaging attack on the United States on 9/11.
The chosen prosecutor Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Cumberbatch) is determined to punish all who were part of the attach on the U.S.
Each side of the equation begin to have doubts as to the strength and truth of their positions could he be guilty from the defence side but most important is Lt. Couch who when he learns of the far-reaching charges without evidence can not continue with the court action.
All of this takes place in the shadow of the 9/11 attack when all of the folks in the U. S. Where wanted punishment for anyone who had a hand in the attack. Here the main characters express determination and some doubt as the evidence does not hold up. That work by Foster, Cumberbatch and Rahim are remarkable and worthy of award consideration.
The complexity of emotion is displayed as Mohamedou and Lt. Couch pray in their different methods to their separate Gods. It reminds us of the flight of United 93 where everyone on the plane prays in many different ways as the flight crashes.
This is a powerful and compelling drama that is well worth viewing.