Magazine article Variety

7 Days in Entebbe

Magazine article Variety

7 Days in Entebbe

Article excerpt

7 Days in Entebbe

OUT OF COMPETITION

Director: José Padilha

Starring: Daniel Brühl, Rosamund Pike, Eddie Marsan, Lior Ashkenazi

The word "fascist" is bandied around a lot in José Padilha's re-creation of the 1976 hijacking of Air France flight 139 from Tel Aviv to Paris. Two of the hijackers are German revolutionaries, and they know that they'll be seen as fascists on a par with Nazis for holding a planeload of Jewish people at gunpoint. But they in turn accuse the Israeli regime of being the "real" fascists, for their treatment of the Palestinians to whose cause they have rallied. And they don't spare the f-word in relation to their own government either: "It's the same people still in power now," says Wilfrid Böse (Daniel Brühl), "the same fascists!" Like any word, no matter how loaded, that is repeated too often, it soon starts to sound meaningless - an accurate reflection of the dulling effect of the curiously unthrilling "7 Days in Entebbe."

The low-boil drama begins when Wilfrid and fellow Revolutionary Cell member Brigitte (Rosamund Pike) calmly unpack several guns from their carry-on luggage and along with two Palestinians, take control of the plane. After a refueling stop in Yemen, they force the plane to Entebbe in Uganda, and bring the 250- plus hostages, including some 84 Israelis and the Air France crew (Dennis Menochet is perhaps the performance MVP as the flight engineer), into a sealed-offarea of the terminal building. There, they await word from the Israeli authorities on whether they are willing, contrary to their stated policy, to negotiate the release of their citizens.

They are met by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin (Nonso Anozie), who also agrees to a kind of go-between role in the talks. And it's a shame that not more is made of the notorious Amin brokering negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, because it's about as insane a notion as dogs and cats coming to the talks table and having, well, Idi Amin preside. Unfortunately, here, with only a couple of colorful scenes, Amin's outsize personality almost comes across as comic relief, especially in comparison to the uniformly dour hijackers.

Surprisingly, the most involving dramatic strand is not with the imperilled innocent families and their gun-toting captors, but inside the chambers of government in Israel. Here Defense Minister Shimon Peres (Eddie Marsan in peculiar eyebrows), the wily opportunist, and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (an impressive Lior Ashkenazi), the conflicted pragmatist, each try to secure the hostages' release, but in a manner that will gain them personally the maximum political advantage. …

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