In 1976 two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and two German Revolutionary Cell members took an Air France plane, and its 248 passengers, hostage.
Daniel Bruhl (“The Cloverfield Paradox“, “Captain America: Civil War“) and Rosamund Pike (“The World’s End”, “Gone Girl”) play the two Germans whilst Ala Dakka (“Mossad 101 (TV)”, “The Cousin”) and Amir Khoury (“Fauda (TV)”, “The Little Drummer Girl”) play the PFLP members.
They take control of the plane on its way to Paris and force it on to Entebbe, Uganda via Libya where it refuels, the Libyan government allowing them to do so.
Once in Uganda, they are personally welcomed by dictator Idi Amin, played brilliantly by Nonso Anozie (“The Grey“, “Enders Game”), who informs them he will look after them and they will not be harmed.
The captives separate the Israelis and non-Israeli Jews into a separate room and over the following days, some 148 non-Israeli hostages were released and flown to Paris.
Initially, Israel tried using political avenues to free the hostages, it seemed they would go against their usual ‘we don’t deal with terrorists’ stance.
After gaining an extension to the deadline set by the terrorist before they began killing hostages, Israel approved a plan to send commandos some 4,000km to Uganda on a rescue mission.
Entebbe is not the first film to be made about the hostage situation. We’ve had Victory at Entebbe starring Anthony Hopkins, Burt Lancaster, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Dreyfuss, Raid on Entebbe with Charles Bronson and James Woods, Operation Thunderbolt (the code name given by the Israeli’s) and it even featured in The Last King of Scotland.
This version is directed by Jose Padilha who’ll you know better from RoboCop and Elite Squad and is written by Gregory Burke (“’71”, “Black Watch”).
Padilha mixes the film he’s shot with some original footage that exists from the time, TV news coverage mostly, as well as cutting in a performance from the Batsheva Dance Company, one of the performers of which is the girlfriend of one of the commandos.
Entebbe is wonderfully directed and wonderfully performed, it’s a shame then that it feels like it’s a lot longer than the one hour 47 minutes run-time it actually is.
The movie drags it’s heels and somehow manages to lose any tension in the process. The pacing and rhythm is all quite flat, the build up to the commandos going in is quick and almost skipped over.
The raid itself is relatively short and whilst we applaud Padilha for mixing the dance performance with the raid and music, it all runs at the same pacing and style as previous, it doesn’t get you excited or push the tension button.
The DVD is good quality and you have a featurette about the making of the movie with interviews of most of the cast, director, writer and producers. You also get some more dance performances from the Batsheva Dance Company.
I’m glad I’ve seen Entebbe if, for no other reason, than it has made me aware of the other movies that sound far more interesting.
Also published on Medium.