I wanna make a joke about Zemo breaking out of his prison from CIVIL WAR and teamed up with Amy Dunne from GONE GIRL and went on to become a terrorist duo, but nothing clever’s coming to mind.
So a little back story. On June 27, 1976, a pair of Palestine extremists hijacked an airplane filled with 248 passengers and made a landing in Entebbe, Uganda. The objective was to free several Palestinian leaders that were imprisoned all over the globe in exchange for the lives of the hostages. The Israel Defense Force (IDF), in turn, launched Operation Entebbe, also known as Operation Thunderbolt, which as been considered to be a successful campaign.
This story has left such an impact on Hollywood over the years that marks not the first, not the second, not the third, but the fourth time a movie has been made about this harrowing event: VICTORY AT ENTEBBE (1976), RAID ON ENTEBBE (1977), and OPERATION THUNDERBOLT (1977).
I was born in 1989, so I haven’t the foggiest idea what this is. It does sound like an interesting story, but I do have to voice a concern. I’ve already jumped ahead and read a bit of the early buzz around the film, which doesn’t seem to make it out to be anything good. And even though it’s not explicitly said in the one trailer I’ve seen, I think I saw hints of portraying these terrorists as the good guys of the film. Uh… what? As I understand it, hostages were killed. So if you try to moralize them, or portray them as good guys, then we already know how things going to end up, destroying any sympathy that they may have garnered. This is, however, entirely speculative.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Rosamund Pike (HOSTILES , and upcoming films BEIRUT  and THREE SECONDS ), Daniel Brühl (CLOVERFIELD PARADOX , ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE , CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR , and the upcoming MY ZOE ), Eddie Marsan (MARK FELT , CONCUSSION , MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3 , THE BUNKER , and upcoming films DEADPOOL 2  and WHITE BOY RICK ), and Lior Ashkenazi (NORMAN  and the upcoming MY ZOE).
Now for the crew. Directing, we have José Padilha, known for ROBOCOP (2014). Penning the screenplay is Gregory Burke, known for stuff I’ve never heard of. Composing the score is Rodrigo Amarante, making his debut as a composer. Congrats, sir. The cinematographer is Lula Carvalho, known for TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2014) and OUT OF THE SHADOWS (2016), and ROBOCOP (2014). Finally, the editor is Daniel Rezende, known for ROBOCOP (2014), CITY OF GOD (2002), and the upcoming AMERICANA (2018).
Overall, early ratings are not making this look promising, which is a shame because I do really like both Pike and Brühl. But I guess you can’t always be in winning films. Lame. Well, here’s hoping it’s not… painful.
This is my honest opinion of: 7 DAYS IN ENTEBBE
Set in 1976. A pair of German terrorists named Brigitte Kuhlmann (Rosamund Pike) and Wilfried Böse (Daniel Brühl), and two Palestinian revolutionaries hijack a plane and have it land in Entebbe, Uganda, where they hold the hostages for ransom in exchange for a list of their Palestinian leaders that are in prison around the world.
If my summary seems a little shorter than usual, it’s because this is at its core, a political drama. And if anyone knows me really well, they know I’ll have a hard time following this. But here I am and I am going to try my best to relay my understanding of this movie. I guess first and foremost, I think this is a pretty dull film and not well put together.
The first thing that I had planned to rage about was humanizing the terrorists that this movie is about. My first instinct was to put to filmmakers on blast for choosing monsters as the protagonists of the film instead of the soldiers that would eventually go in and kill them. However, the more I look into Operation Thunderbolt, whatever my dollar tree quality investigation is worth, I can’t find anything that states that the terrorists in question actually executed anyone. I am inclined to believe no, other than the few victims that were caught in the crossfire between the terrorists and the soldiers. So I can’t rail on that. I guess the terrorists were, more or less, humane with their treatment of the hostages. Er, at least, humane for terrorists.
With that in mind, I have a better opinion to formulate. Like I said, it’s boring. The concept is there. Risky, but like anything in Hollywood, an idea is only good if it’s written well. Believe it or not, a story about a man dressed as a bat who fights crime sounds like a pretty silly idea, but BATMAN (1989) and THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) exist. So the idea of humanizing terrorists could be good if handled correctly. Sadly, it’s not. They love to spout things, like, “This is a righteous cause and even though we’ll be seen as the bad guys, we’re doing the right thing!” over and over again. But… we never get a real sense of character out of any of these… er, characters. The movie almost seems more concerned about telling us what the terrorists’ goals were rather than giving us their personal stakes and motivations that audiences could connect with. In probably more than a few ways, this movie almost seems like it wanted to be a documentary, not a movie. I couldn’t tell you a single thing about Böse, or Kuhlmann. Their personalities are never the focus, and as the story mostly follows them, it’s a borderline chore to get through the scenes with them, even though Pike and Brühl are great actors.
The only characters that do benefit from having personalities are the political figures that eventually put together and execute Operation Entebbe, Shimon Peres (Eddie Marsan) and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (Lior Ashkenazi), who seem to be constantly at odds with each other on how to best handle the situation. If I followed correctly, Rabin wanted to negotiate with the terrorists, but Peres wanted to send in soldiers to deal with them, and maneuvering through some red tape, he put Rabin in a position to accept the operation. Something about the Prime Minister would be seen as a hero for issuing the order, as everyone seems to think their plan is a solid one. I’m probably missing out on a lot of crucial information that made the decision for Rabin more difficult… or the movie did… I don’t know, man, I was fading in and out enough. I had a hard enough time fully understanding the terrorists’ motivations, let alone the politicians’ who are hard to comprehend even on the best of days.
Honestly, the most interesting thing in this film is this random-ass dance sequence that crops up on occasion. Supposedly, it’s a dance group that one of the soldiers’ girlfriend is a part of. It’s inserted in the same way that the random Youtube clips were inserted into some of the “action” scenes in JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS (2015), and if this movie is making me think of JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS, you know this movie done f**ked up somewhere. Still, the dance number is pretty provocative. But if the highlight of this film, about a band of terrorists holding hostages so they can get their extremist leaders out of prison to possibly cause more harm to the world at large, is a dance routine, then I refer you to the aforementioned someone done f**king up.
There’s also some weird character choices. Like a hostage being polite to Brigitte and telling her that her blouse was open. Yeah… this woman is potentially about to murder you in your face, but God forbid that you get a cheeky glance as her bra, mate. Way to prioritize your current situation. Also, especially in the beginning, this movie really ROGUE ONE‘s us and takes to about a dozen different locations before we finally settle down on one. I’m not even entirely sure how relevant some of these locations were, if at all. Also, there’s a really weird scene where Brigitte makes an attempt to use a pay phone and talk to the lover she left behind and has a pretty extensive conversation with him, full pauses and everything as if they were having a conversation, but… thing is, the phone doesn’t work. We heard her coin tumble back through to the rejected coin slot. Even hilariously, her “conversation” is interrupted by someone who informs her, “Miss, that phone isn’t working.” As if to say, “Lady, stop being insane, you ain’t talkin’ to anyone.” Why is it that Pike has been making a career lately from playing crazy white bitches?! Should we be concerned? I’m too afraid to find out that it might make a little too much sense. I am, of course, kidding, but still… damn, get this woman a role in a Pixar film, stat.
Overall, this is a pretty stale film. Aside from being informed that this situation did, in fact, happen, I didn’t learn a whole lot more than the texts in the beginning and the end of the movie informed me of. Everything else was just… information. The central characters are not interesting, despite being a potentially interesting idea. I enjoy the talent presented, but this is not the best material to showcase it. As a result, I do not recommend this movie either in theaters or a rental. I won’t say “avoid it like the plague” but it’s not worth the time. Something’s telling me the three films in the 70s are more factual and interesting than this one. Not the worst, and I don’t hate it, but it’s a pretty bad flick. For an hour and forty minutes, the bored audience was held captive.
My honest rating for 7 DAYS IN ENTEBBE: 2/5