Following the hijacking of an Air France plane by Palestine terrorists in 1976, three films were rushed out, telling the story of the incident and the Israeli attempts to rescue the hostages. But this is the first telling since. Daniel Bruhl and Rosamund Pike play members of the Baader Meinhof organisation who initiate the hijacking, and who find events moving out of their control once they reach Entebbe, in Uganda, and start to make demands of the Israeli government.
There is a lot I liked about Entebbe. Suspense is built-up nicely as the plane is taken, the attempts to show both points of view is admirable, and the dilemma of Germans taking Jewish people hostage and how that looks to the world a generation after the second world war, is nicely explored. Most of all, the depiction of Israeli politics is fascinating, bolstered by great performances by Lior Ashkenazi as Yitzhak Rabin and Eddie Marsan as Simon Peres, both enjoying themselves in a power struggle.
However there are two major missteps by writer Gregory Burke and director Jose Padilha. There is a scene where Rosamund Pike’s character leaves the airport terminal where the hostages are being held to make a phone call. Her conversation did not ring true for a second and it is pretty excruciating. Worse than that is the staging of the rescue mission. The shots of the Israeli commandos storming the terminal is intercut with one of the soldier’s girlfriends performing as a dancer. That both lessons the tension and makes the rescue mission seem perfunctory and straightforward.
I expected this to be one of the best films of the year but it is instead a mostly decent telling of an intriguing story.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10