7 Days in Entebbe

If a story about hostages living a horrific seven days under the control of terrorists who demand freedom for their persecuted brothers sounds familiar, it might be because this is the fourth film to detail the extraordinary events of Entebbe. What’s even worse for the filmmakers of this one is the striking resemblance to 6 Days, last year’s film starring Jamie Bell and Mark Strong, about gunman storming the Iranian Embassy in London. This time its Palestinian hijackers with a plane full of hostages in Uganda. While they couldn’t sound more different, both films are structured identically, showing us the story from multiple sides: the kidnappers, the government and the military.

Some have called the two Palestinians, and two Germans who hijacked Air France Flight 139 in 1976, freedom fighters, others called them terrorists.  Diverting the flight to Entebbe, Uganda, they release all non-Israeli hostages and demand the release of 40 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel in exchange for the Israelis. Prime minister Yitzhak Rabin (Lior Ashkenazi) wants to break the long-standing rule of refusing to negotiate with terrorists to spare innocent lives. Defense minister Shimon Peres (Eddie Marsan) strongly advises against this, explaining how it would jeopardize their country’s principles.  Two members of the German Revolutionary Cell, Brigitte (Rosamund Pike) and Wilfried (Daniel Brühl), strongly believe in their actions at first, but begin to doubt their purpose as they see the innocent lives being affected.

This film allows the viewer to learn about a suspenseful moment in history and its educational purpose might be all it can hope for.

7 Days in Entebbe is from José Padilha, director of the Robocop re-make. His apparent lack of skill is evident in both pictures. 7 Days, is a perfect example of why filmmakers need to be more astutely aware of other films around them. From the way the days are counted down, to editing the three main points of view, 7 Days in Entebbe looks like a complete copy-cat production by anyone who saw 6 Days. The fact that the outcomes are virtually the same, makes for a dull experience overall, with two major exceptions.  ‘Entebbe’ contains a stage performance element interwoven with the film’s most interesting character, an Israeli soldier played by Ben Schnetzer (Pride). The only other interesting element is the performance by Oscar nominee Pike (Hostiles). Though the arc of her character is almost nonsensical, the actress does demand a high level of attention when she is on screen.

This film allows the viewer to learn about a suspenseful moment in history and its educational purpose might be all it can hope for. The plane hijacking and the dramatic ending are the only two moments of suspense. The remainder of the running time is spent between the three groups debating over what to do next. Unlike Argo, there isn’t enough creativity in the script to keep the audience engaged. “Operation Thunderbolt” might have looked cheesy on the poster but would have been better than another “number followed by the word Day” title. However, it’s the lack of focus that is the film’s real undoing. Gregory Burke’s script doesn’t supply a leading character to guide the audience through the sequence of events, politics and circumstances, which makes ‘Entebbe’ rather weak.

Final Thought

That feeling you get when you think that you have seen this before.


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