7 Days in Entebbe

March 16, 201884 min

The beauty of storytelling is that we will never run out of stories to tell, because life will always give us new ones. Every day we are bombarded with these human interest pieces on our news networks, but after their cycle is up most of us move on and forget. I feel like the story of the 1976 hijacking of an Air France flight is just such a story, but thanks to film we get to relive that story once again.

On June 27th, 1976 an Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Paris was hijacked by four people and diverted to Entebbe, Uganda. Of those four hijackers Brigitte Kuhlmann (Roseamund Pike) and Wilfried Böse (Daniel Brühl) were from a German Revolutionary Cell, while the other two were from the Liberation of Palestine -External Operations. Once on the ground at the Entebbe airport they separated the 58 Jewish passengers from the rest as they offered them up in exchange for the release of militants being held by the Israeli government. While the negotiating was going on the Israeli Military was working on a rescue mission led by Shimon Peres (Eddie Marsan) that would use the element of surprise. On July 4th, 1976 Operation Thunderbolt was carried out and with the hope of rescuing of all the hostages and is considered by many one of the greatest counter-terrorist hostage-rescue missions ever conducted.

Telling a story that you already know the ending to and still trying to keep the tension level up can be a difficult thing. When “7 Days in Entebbe” opens director José Padilha uses a dance troupe’s performance that at the time feels like it has little meaning. As the film moves forward you start to think the connection is that one of the soldier’s girlfriend is a member of that troupe, but he saves the real meaning of it until Operation Thunderbolt occurs. Padilha uses the performance of the troupe and the unfolding of the operation as dance partners, in a move that builds the tension. That move turns out to be the highlight in a film that seems to hover around mediocrity throughout its runtime. The story is amazing and Gregory Burke’s screenplay is good, but the film never lives up to the story itself. The movie though is not bad and maybe it just being out there will help us not to forget the things we say we never will. For me sometimes one moment is enough for me to like something, and in this case the choice that was made in how they showed the rescue mission being carried out which was enough to take this forgettable movie and give me something that I will remember.

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