Mark Reviews Movies

7 Days in Entebbe


2 Stars (out of 4)

Director: José Padilha

Cast: Daniel Brühl, Rosamund Pike, Eddie Marsan, Lior Ashkenazi, Ben Schnetzer, Denis Ménochet, Zina Zinchenko, Nonso Anozie

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for violence, some thematic material, drug use, smoking and brief strong language)

Running Time: 1:46

Release Date: 3/16/18

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Capsule review by Mark Dujsik | March 16, 2018

It's little surprise that 7 Days in Entebbe, a dramatization of the 1976 plane hijacking and subsequent hostage situation at an airport in Uganda, ultimately finds a tone of sorrow for the seemingly unending Israel-Palestine conflict, because that's an easy political note to strike. The real surprise is that the movie focuses most of its attention on two German hijackers, who don't have a stake in the conflict except on the esoteric level of extending their ideology.

The movie has plenty of other characters, from members of the Israeli government and military to actual Palestinians involved in the hijacking. For some reason, the screenplay by Gregory Burke mostly ignores them, except as a means for getting the story to the high-stakes rescue mission that ended the situation.

The self-proclaimed revolutionaries are Wilfried Böse (Daniel Brühl) and Brigitte Kuhlmann (Rosamund Pike), a pair of radical left-wingers who see Israel as an oppressive state and join forces with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to send a message. That's about the extent of their characterizations, save for the fact that they eventually come to regret their decision, when there's the likely possibility of having to murder over 200 Israeli and French citizens to send that message.

The other characters have even less to them. In Jerusalem, the battle is between Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (Lior Ashkenazi), who's willing to negotiate with the hostage-takers as a means to end the constant warfare, and Defense Minister Shimon Peres (Eddie Marsan), a hardliner who's willing to let the hostages die to avoid negotiations. The political in-fighting is reduced to these two characters repeatedly stating their stances. We're also introduced to a member of Israel's Special Forces and a dancer, so that we can see the Israeli military's rehearsal for the rescue operation intercut with a dance rehearsal.

It's clear that Burke and director José Padilha want us to see 7 Days in Entebbe as a multi-faceted narrative that refuses to take either side, while looking for the humanity and struggles of everyone involved. It's a tough sell when these characters come across, at most, as shallow representatives for their respective side or, at least, pawns in an admittedly detailed dramatization of history.

Copyright © 2018 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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