7 Days in Entebbe (Rescate en Entebbe) is the true story of the June 1976 hijacking of an Air France flight from Paris to Tel Aviv, Israel. At a scheduled stop in Athens, Greece, four hijackers – two Germans and two Palestinians – take control of the aircraft shortly after take-off. The plane eventually lands at Entebbe Airport in Uganda as the terrorists know that the country’s ruler, dictator Idi Amin (Nonso Anozie) will be sympathetic towards their cause.
The movie cuts back and forth between the events of the hostages and the Israeli government planning how to deal with the situation. Unfortunately, Brazilian director Jose Padilha takes what should have been an extremely tense and nerve-wracking film and tells it in a mediocre style.
The film’s two main stars are Rosamund Pike as Brigitte Kuhlmann and Daniel Brühl as Wilfried Böse, the two German hostage takers at odds with their Palestinian colleagues. But Padilha does not coax out of either of them a performance anywhere near their best. Eddie Marsan plays defence minister Shimon Peres but seems totally miscast with a performance that led me to believe that the British actor had been told to portray the future Prime Minister of Israel as a third-rate pantomime villain. Also, we are never given a chance to connect with any of the hostages who must have all feared for their very existence.
One of the Israeli Special Forces members tasked with rescuing the hostages has a girlfriend who is a professional dancer. Padilha uses this to try and build the tension by shoehorning in her dance routines, but miserably fails, and in fact, for me he achieved exactly the opposite by taking me out of the film.
Of the lead actors Brühl is the most convincing, but this week’s star of the show, despite his relatively short screen time, is Nonso Anozie as Idi Amin. A decent level of Spanish is required as the characters often speak in their various native languages with only Spanish subtitles to help the viewer.
This story has been told on celluloid many times before and this film adds nothing new in terms of viewing pleasure. At times during the 107 minutes runtime, I felt like I was being held hostage. 5.5 out of 10.