7 Days in Entebbe Crime

Film Review: '7 Days in Entebbe' is a Movie About a Hostage Rescue in Need of Rescue Itself

March 16, 2018Ferdosa Abdi

A crime-thriller that follows the true-life events of Operation Entebbe, 7 Days in Entebbe has its work cut out for it, telling the story of the 1976 operation to rescue hostages after Air France Flight 139 was hijacked by terrorists en route to Tel Aviv, Israel.

Any form of art that depicts the Israel vs. Palestine conflict is already complicated. The conflict is beyond understanding at this point. However, filmmakers do not help the situation when depicting this conflict without any concern for authenticity and balance of perspective. The leads of this story are the German hijackers, played by Daniel Brühl and Rosamund Pike, who are part of a left wing organization intent on defending the rights of Palestinians. Right there, this is where the movie gets into hot water.

The actual Palestinians in the film take a backseat to their own story and conflict. In fact, viewers will be hard-pressed to even recall the names of the Palestinian hijackers. Rather, they are painted in broad strokes, and their emotional and mental journeys during this situation are ironically hijacked by the Germans. The Germans are given the room to struggle with who they are and who they have become after this hijacking, while the Palestinians are depicted as cruel, vengeful and stereotypical terrorists.

The other perspective given a chance to shine are the Israelis. The audience is given the chance to emotionally connect with the Jewish/Israeli hostages, and to develop sympathy for the Israeli armed forces and their government. By doing this, the movie essentially decides for the audience that the struggles and decisions made by the Palestinians are less important than those of the Israelis and the outsiders, the Germans.

This story has been depicted many times, and rightfully so. How the hijacking and rescue operation unfolded is a gift to cinema. It is as if the whole situation was designed to be adapted for the big screen, but director José Padilha wastes those opportunities on scenes focusing on the German characters, the Israelis discussing how to go about the operations, and a subplot that involves a young IDF soldier and his dancer girlfriend. Shockingly, the actual rescue is condensed into what feels like a 5-minute montage during the third act.

In the end, 7 Days in Entebbe is an incredibly flawed film that boasts a skewed perspective on the Israeli vs. Palestinian conflict. Instead of being thrilling, the movie comes across as tedious, emotionally disingenuous, and even comical at points, and is a perfect example of why, when depicting stories of such conflicts, balance is necessary to gain any understanding of the situation.

7 Days in Entebbe releases March 16th, 2018 from Universal Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for violence, some thematic material, drug use, smoking and brief strong language. Its runtime is 1 hr. 46 min.

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