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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Thrilling Depiction of True Events
by James Colt Harrison

True stories taken from the front pages of newspapers are usually intriguing pieces of history. Such is the case with the new Jose Padilha film 7 Days in Entebbe. A group of German terrorists hijacked an Air France plane filled with Jewish tourists. They were seeking the release of terrorist prisoners from jails in Israel, and for the alleged mistreatment of Palestinians by the government of Israel.

The headline story has been filmed twice before, once as a television film and once as Raid on Entebbe, starring Oscar® winner Peter Finch (Network). The film won a Golden Globe and Finch won an Emmy for his acting. It was the British star’s last completed role before his untimely passing from a heart attack.

In the new film, European superstar Daniel Bruhl plays Bose, a somewhat sympathetically benign revolutionist for the cause. He is paired with a vehement Brigitte, played superbly by Rosamund Pike. She’s more engaged in the cause and more brutal in her approach to the hostages on the plane than Bose is. Pike seems sabotaged by the hairdresser, who gave the actress a scraggly fright wig to wear throughout the film. Granted, the hot and humid weather in Uganda was not conducive to Pike looking like a perfectly groomed movie star throughout all the shenanigans. Joining the hairstylist in the sabotage of the actress is costume designer Bina Daigeler. Dressed in unflattering jeans and a messy blouse, Pike looks like a bedraggled rat.

After a refueling stop in Yemen, the plane flew on to Uganda, where the passengers were heartily welcomed by despot and leader of the country, the maniacal Idi Amin, played with gusto by Nonso Anozie. The dictator is thrilled to host this planeload of hapless hostages. He relishes all the attention he will get throughout the world.

Meanwhile, back in Tel Aviv, the Israeli government leaders are in a tizzy about what to do about the hijacking. The inside workings of the government are revealed as the two leaders, Defense Minister Shimon Peres (played by Eddie Marsan with Frankenstein-like eyebrows and forehead) and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (portrayed by the excellent Lior Ashkenazi) about the correct tactic to save the hostages. Most of the drama in the film comes from the inner workings of a government in crisis and how the two men will solve the problem.

Bruhl probably appears too attractive to realistically play a grungy terrorist, but as Bose he must be enthusiastic about his mission and half-way sympathetic for the hostages. There-in lies his weakness, a trait Brigitte picks up, and she chastises him for being too soft.

In a flashback, Pike has a walloping scene involving a telephone call to say goodbye to her boyfriend. It's intersting to note that other great actresses have excelled in dramatic telephone scenes, such as Luise Rainer in The Great Ziegfeld (1936) for which she won the Academy Award ® and Barbara Stanwyck in Sorry Wrong Number (1948),for which she received an Oscar® nomination.

In 7 Days in Entebbe, there’s a slam-bang final wrap-up with the Israeli troops storming the Entebbe airport in an effort to save the passengers being held against their will by the terrorists. It was probably not a good idea to show sympathy for some of the terrorists as they were killers and revolutionists against society. The film is a good representation of the actual events. However, my advice is to see Raid on Entebbe, the 1976 Peter Finch film, and compare the two versions.

(Released by Focus Features/ Working Title FiIms and rated “PG-13” for violence, some thematic material, drug use, smoking, and brief strong language.)

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