July 9, 2018  (Web Review)

7 Days in Entebbe

Universal, 107 min., PG-13, DVD: $29.98, Blu-ray: $34.98, July 3

Reviewer rating: 2.0/4

The 1976 Israeli raid on Uganda’s Entebbe Airport—which freed more than a hundred hostages taken when an Air France plane was hijacked by two German terrorists and their Palestinian comrades—is dramatized in José Padilha’s docu-drama that is divided almost equally between aircraft/terminal scenes and those following deliberations by the Israeli government about how to respond. The Germans, Wilfried Böse (Daniel Brühl) and Brigitte Kuhlmann (Rosamund Pike), take over the plane and reroute it to Entebbe, where they are shunted aside by the Palestinians. Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv, the debate centers on whether to enter negotiations with the hijackers, pitting Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s (Lior Ashkenazi) more moderate stance against Defense Minister Shimon Peres (Eddie Marsan), who develops the military rescue plan. The Israel-set sequences savor the rivalry between Rabin and Peres, but are undermined by a misguided subplot about a soldier—who is part of the rescue team—and his girlfriend. And while the hostage scenes effectively generate a sense of tension and danger, the attempt to humanize the Germans is not only heavy-handed but also highly speculative. Moreover, the culminating raid sequence—“Operation Thunderbolt,” a courageous and inspiring Israeli achievement—is messily choreographed here. Optional. [Note: DVD/Blu-ray extras include the behind-the-scenes featurettes “The Entebbe Team” (8 min.) and “Inside the Raid” (8 min.), and additional dance sequences (6 min.). Exclusive to the Blu-ray release is a bonus digital copy of the film. Bottom line: a decent extras package for an uneven historical drama.] (F. Swietek)