The hijacking of Air France 139 was the work of numerous factions allied to a range of political causes, and their interplay is one of the most intriguing elements of 7 Days in Entebbe. Disappointingly, this aspect of the film fails to bear any substantial fruit and is sidelined – but not before they have knocked out some classic Idi Amin gags. Amin is less a brutal dictator than a punchline, and this is one of the many examples of Entebbe failing to properly explore its subject matter.
Daniel Brühl is left to prop up the political and historical complexities of the week’s events, manifested in three ways: dull flashbacks, arduous self-justification to a member of the plane’s crew, and long stares at the film’s Jewish passengers. Against all odds, Brühl assembles a rough character arc out of these pieces; Rosamund Pike is not so lucky. Despite bringing her usual fire to the film, Pike is swallowed up by dull characterisation and a slew of her own narrative misfires.
One of Entebbe’s most bizarre recurring motifs is a thematically overbearing dance number, performed by a tangentially related character. This sequence is kinetic and vibrant, and mostly serves to show up the film’s climactic raid, which despite some riveting elements drawn straight from the real Operation Thunderbolt, lacks the tempo of this geopolitical jive.
As a whole 7 Days in Entebbe keeps its eye on the bigger picture, eschewing good character work in favour of muddling through a story too sprawling for a 90-minute feature. In its short running time Entebbe fails to capture the emotional and physical toil that seven days in that pressure cooker would do to a person – this feels more like an intense couple of hours than a protracted siege.
CAST: Rosamund Pike, Daniel Brühl, Eddie Marsan, Nonso Anozie
DIRECTOR: José Padilha
WRITER: Gregory Burke (screenplay by)
SYNOPSIS: Inspired by the true events of the 1976 hijacking of an Air France flight en route from Tel Aviv to Paris, and the most daring rescue mission ever attempted.