movie reelist poster placeholder

7 Days in Entebbe

Coming Soon


, ,

Directed by:

Starring: ,

7 Days in Entebbe (2018) recounts the 1976 hijacking of an Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Paris by German and Palestinian revolutionaries (terrorists) with diverging agendas. While history knows what happened through eyewitness and military reports, director José Padilha and screenwriter Gregory Burke flesh out the days between hijacking and rescue through interpersonal relationships by adding draG-13ma and tension and a lot of violence.

Wilfried Böse (Daniel Brühl) and Brigitte Kuhlmann (Rosamund Pike) are trying to make the world a better place, sorta. They’re using an Air France plane and explosives to make it happen, but they believe that world leaders are corrupt and they’re taking down the system one plan at a time. It ends about how you would expect. Rerouting to an abandoned airport in Entebbe, Uganda, the hijackers have the advantage of less than hospitable conditions, a friendly dictator, and a landscape that doesn’t lend itself well to stealth. They believe their objective is in hand. They just need to play the waiting game.

It’s up to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (Lior Ashkenazi) to make the tough decisions. He can negotiate, going against Israel’s stance to never negotiate with terrorists, or go in with guns blazing, jeopardizing the lives of the imprisoned passengers. No one wants to fail, and no one wants the blood of innocent lives on their hands. Absolutely no one wants to release known terrorists at the behest of hijackers because it only has to happen once for it to never stop. Operation Thunderbolt as it was called, relied on the skills of the elite Israeli military and well, I think you have an idea of how this ends.

German revolutionaries (or terrorists, it’s okay call them terrorists), Wilfried and Brigitte are very cognizant of the parallel of Nazis murdering Jewish Nationals, and they are extremely uncomfortable with it, and it’s stated time and time again. And time and time again. I mean, we get it. This is one of the issues with this film. We know what’s going on. The characters know what’s going on, and there is only so much dialogue to be used as filler.  For a movie that’s almost 2 hours long the days begin to feel as long as actual days. This wants to be a tense nail-biter, but there’s a lot of crazy-eyes on the part of the Germans who are clearly in over their heads, and a wee bit of confessing that should be an emotional gut punch but feels shoe-horned in.

The one saving grace in this film is the incredible dance number interspersed with scenes of smoke-filled Israeli cabinet offices and dust filled abandoned buildings. The Batsheva Dance Company perform a rousing folk-song that you want to see in person.

If we’re meant to feel either way about the situation, I’m not sure that objective was reached. This is history after all, and even if you know how it ends, fleshing out the drama doesn’t make the original events any more poignant – just reminds you that terrorizing a country with the ability to destroy everything you love is never the smart path. We’re given the (dramatized) whole picture, making for sympathetic terrorists, but in the end, is that a side we want to feel sorry for?

7 Days in Entebbe is not exactly a potboiler because you know how it ends and the world is better for it, but at the same time, it’s 106 minutes that probably could have shifted to a Netflix one-off docu-drama. It’s not ready for the big screen and there are so many soft spots, we shouldn’t have to count the times where everyone is either standing around holding rifles or wandering off to monologue into a payphone. More time could been spent making us care about why it happened in the first place. If you need to hear the word, “fascist” uttered about a few dozen times, this is probably right up your alley. If you’re looking for a gripping drama, there are other films about this event that are more worthwhile.

7 Days in Entebbe is rated PG-13 for swears, lots and lots and lots of shooting, some ham-handed acting, people getting beat up, tense flying experiences, and interpretive dance

7 Days in Entebbe is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

Leave a comment...