the mauritanian trailer

STX Films has debuted the trailer for a true-life courtroom drama with such a star-studded cast that it’s no wonder they squeezed it in just under the wire for awards season. The Mauritanian is based on the true story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi (A Prophet breakout Tahar Rahim) who, in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, was held captive and tortured by the U.S. government in Guantanamo Bay detention camp for 10 years without charge or trial. Jodie Foster, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Shailene Woodley star, with varying levels of believable accents, as the attorneys who cross swords on the courtroom over Slahi’s case. Watch The Mauritanian trailer below.

The Mauritanian Trailer

First Jodie Foster appears in one of her rare modern leading roles, after mostly working as a director for the past few years. Then Benedict Cumberbatch shows up with several shaky American accents, which he toggles through as he emotes enough for the Academy to notice. But the actor that really sealed the deal for me while watching the trailer for The Mauritanian — which brings an unbelievable and harrowing true Guantanamo story to life — is the presence of French actor Tahar Rahim, who completely stole my attention in the 2009 crime drama, A Prophet (or Un prophète). Rahim’s intense charisma even threatens to unseat the film’s biggest stars, and it seems like director Kevin Macdonald, giving Rahim’s Mohamedou Ould Slahi an incredibly cinematic introduction and portraying him with equal turns sympathy and mistrust. Both Rahim and Foster are both apparently being pushed in the Oscar race, which makes Rahim’s big Hollywood debut even more exciting.

Rahim’s Slahi is the main character after all, as the film is based the former Guantanamo prisoner’s memoir Guantanamo Diary, which he published while imprisoned in the detention camp, before being released in 2016. Writers M.B. Traven, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani adapted the memoir into the screenplay, while Adam Ackland, Leah Clarke, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lloyd Le vin, Beatriz Levin, Mark Holder, Christine Holder, Branwen Prestwood Smith, Michael Bronner produced the film.

Also starring in The Mauritanian is Zachary Levi and Saamer Usmani.

Here is the synopsis for The Mauritanian:

Captured by the U.S. Government, Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Tahar Rahim) languishes in prison for years without charge or trial. Losing all hope, Slahi finds allies in defense attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her associate Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley). Together they face countless obstacles in a desperate pursuit for justice. Their controversial advocacy, along with evidence uncovered by formidable military prosecutor, Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch), eventually reveals a shocking and far reaching conspiracy. Based on the New York Times best-selling memoir, this is the explosive true story of a fight for survival against all odds.

The Mauritanian is scheduled to hit theaters on February 19, 2021.

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