If you are going to make yet another movie about Israel’s brave and heroic rescue of the hostages during the 1976 hijacking of an Air France jet en route from Tel Aviv to Paris, it would be wise to come up with a fresh angle. After all, as I say in my video review (click the link above to watch) there were several film projects already made including two quickies from the year the June incident happened (Raid On Entebbe, Victory at Entebbe), several documentaries, and an Israeli –made 1977 effort from schlockmeisters Golan/Globus which actually managed to land an Oscar nomination as Best Foreign Film.
Perhaps filmmakers are banking on the fact that it has been over 40 years since any of those films were made and that a new generation is ready for a new telling of the story. However, unlike a film such as Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty which gave real and thrilling context to the raid that captured and killed Osama Bin Laden, 7 Days In Entebbe, directed by Jose Padilha, just doesn’t seem as interested in much complexity. There is really nothing new here, even with the focus on two of the hijackers played by fine actors Daniel Bruhl and Rosamund Pike, as well as Israeli leaders Shimon Peres and Itzhak Rabin, played respectively by terrific actors Eddie Marsan and Lior Ashkenazi. The movie zig-zags between the conflicts between these sets of characters as well as the training of a special ops soldier.
Padilha tries to spice it all up by inserting a stage performance of the Batsheva Dance company’s “Minus 16” which dramatizes the hijacking and subsequent rescue of over 100 hostages through modern dance interpretation. The film begins and ends with it, as well as merging the performance gimmick in with the action sequences of the actual raid itself. Unfortunately, as arresting as these performers are, it takes you right out of the movie every time they show up.
For those unfamiliar with these events, the hijackers were German nationals teamed with a Palestinian group who rerouted the plane to Entebbe airport in Uganda , where dictator Idi Amin becomes a minor character. As played by Nonso Anozie, we aren’t going to forget what Forest Whitaker brought to the role in The Last King Of Scotland anytime soon. Amin comes off as a caricature in the brief screen time given here. Beyond the by-the-numbers screenplay credited to Gregory Burke,who previously wrote the much more compelling ’71, it is surprising Padilha couldn’t infuse more vibrant action into this considering his resume includes the Elite Squad movies and Robocop remake. Unfortunately it is a bit of a long slog between the well-orchestrated hijack sequence and the daring rescue. In between is a lot of talk (and dance, of course). Producers of the Working Title and Participant production are Eric Fellner, Tim Bevan, Kate Solomon, Michelle Wright, and Ron Halpern. Focus Features releases this Friday.
Do you plan to see 7 Days In Entebbe? Let us know what you think.