7 Days in Entebbe

First Hit: The film creates intrigue and an artsy buildup but the ending falls flat and was unsatisfying.

Being old enough to remember the actual incident as it unfolded, at 26 I didn’t have enough world-wide or middle-east education to understand it.

However, today, I better understand the Palestinian Israeli struggle. In seeing this film, I was hoping for a better understanding of the events that took place forty-two years ago. Here, Brigitte Kuhlmann (Rosamund Pike) and Wilfried Bose (Daniel Bruhl) are two idealistic Germans who assist two Hamas Palestinian freedom fighters (aka: "terrorists"), in hijacking an Air France plane filled with passengers of all nationalities, 83 of them Jewish.

The hijacked plane, with permission from Idi Amin Dada (Nonso Anozie) the President of Uganda, lands at the old airstrip en Entebbe Uganda. Ushering the passengers off the plane and into the old dirty dilapidated terminal, the hijackers begin to negotiate with the Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin (Lior Ashkenazi). The ransom for the return of the plane and all the passengers and crew was $5M and the release of 53 Palestinian and pro-Palestinian militants 40 of whom were in Israel’s custody.

Rabin's Defense Secretary, Shimon Peres (Eddie Marsan), was a  hardliner holding the line that Israel does not negotiate for prisoners or ransoms. This is despite Rabin stating at some point in time we have to negotiate with the Palestinians and others, else they will never really flourish.

Because this is history we know what happens, Peres team successfully develops a rescue raid which eventually plays out.

The issue with this film is that they use a wonderful dance company to illustrate tension and well as back and forth scenes from the original planning of the hijacking and current scenes of the captured plane and hostage imprisonment. This part is excellent at building interest and tension, but when the big payoff comes, the details of the raid and rescue of the hostages from Entebbe, the film falters and shows little of this event and shows more of the dance company executing the dance we see them practice throughout the film.

I also thought the personal link between one of the dancers and one of the raiding Israeli soldiers was poorly developed and not defined.

Bruhl was good and interesting as the bookseller who wanted to  make a difference in the world, especially for the Palestinians. The film did share the issue of him being German taking Israeli hostages and that the world might bring up the Nazi holocaust. Pike was very strong as an obsessed woman who was fighting this cause and her own personal demons. Her intense wild-eyed stares after being up for seven days straight was excellent. Marsan was peculiarly strong. His half lidded facial expressions and being a supreme hawk, he had this “I told you so” way of getting his agenda completed. Anozie was excellent as Idi Amin. He physically imposed his Amin remarks just like I remember Amin, slightly off center and childlike. Ashkenazi was strong as Israel’s Prime Minister Rabin. His distaste for Peres’s hawk and kill only attitude was well acted. Gregory Burke wrote an engaging screenplay; however the ending was too creative for me, I wanted to see more of the actual rescue. Jose Padilha directed this with a nice touch except for the ending.

Overall: Although this was a good film, I kept wondering how close was this story to the real story.