3/5   aka: 7 Days in Entebbe
dir Jose Padilha
scr Gregory Burke
prd Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Ron Halpern, Kate Solomon, Michelle Wright
with Rosamund Pike, Daniel Bruhl, Eddie Marsan, Lior Ashkenazi, Ben Schnetzer, Denis Menochet, Nonso Anozie, Juan Pablo Raba, Zina Zinchenko, Mark Ivanir, Angel Bonanni, Andrea Deck
release US 16.Mar.18, UK 11.May.18
18/UK Participant 1h47
A show of force: Bruhl and Pike

marsan ashkenazi schnetzer
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Entebbe The astonishing events of June 1976 are robustly recreated for this punchy dramatic thriller. Although the filmmakers try to tell the story from so many points of view that the people never quite come into focus. It's a fascinating chain of events, with some stunning moments along the way. But by focussing the facts, the movie remains interesting rather than involving.

As the Baader Meinhof gang goes underground, German revolutionaries Brigitte and Wilfried (Pike and Bruhl) decide to team up with Palestinian activists, plotting an elaborate hijacking. Boarding a Tel Aviv-to-Paris Air France flight when it stops in in Athens, they force it to fly to Uganda. But they clash with their Palestinian cohorts, who are demanding that Israel release political prisoners. Meanwhile in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Yitshak Rabin (Ashenazi) and his defence minister Shimon Peres (Marsan) are constrained against negotiating with terrorists, so they launch a daring nighttime raid.

The film also watches from the perspective of Israeli commando Zeev (Schnetzer), waiting for his orders as his girlfriend (Zinchenko) rehearses for a modern dance performance that is intercut throughout the film without any obvious connection. In addition, there are flashbacks to Brigitte and Wilfried's other cohort Juan Pablo (Raba), as they debate their next step after Baader Meinhof's collapse. And the hostages at the airport get a couple of visits from Idi Amin (Anozie).

Oddly, none of these characters ever develop much depth. There are some strong scenes along the way, mainly for Pike, but Brigitte is just as sketchy as everyone else, perhaps because no one is on-screen for very long before the action cuts to another angle. This gives the actors plenty of chance to play with the nuances of the story, upending ideas of the obvious heroes and villains. But the loose approach doesn't offer the audience a point of entry.

Padilha is a skilled director who invests plenty of earthy energy to the film, including a bracing sense of authenticity in the way it is designed and photographed. The complexities of the situation are clearly laid out, even if the motivations are all somewhat blurred. It's almost as if the filmmakers were worried about being perceived to take a side, so they offer all of them in an almost documentary style and leave the audience to sift through them. So it's educational but not nearly as involving as it should be.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 19.Apr.18

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© 2018 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall