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In July 1976, an Air France flight from Tel-Aviv to Paris via Athens was hijacked and forced to land in Entebbe, Uganda. The Jewish passengers were separated and held hostage in demand to release many terrorists held in Israeli prisons. After much debate, the Israeli government sent an elite commando unit to raid the airfield and release the hostages.
Yonatan (Yoni) Netanyahu is the older brother of Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel since 2009. Both served in the IDF and the elite commando unit Sayeret Matkal, which conducted this operation. See more »
The "Anafaza," a dance that appears throughout the film, debuted in 1995. See more »
'Entebbe' is a film that should have worked and should have been good. It had a very talented cast, it is hard not to go wrong with Daniel Bruhl, Rosamund Pike and Eddie Marsan judging from a lot of their previous work. It also is based on and tells of a remarkable and hard-hitting true story.
While not a terrible film, despite sharing all of many people's complaints of 'Entebbe' it is not as quite as bad to me as some have made out because there are a few plus points, 'Entebbe' should have been much better and that it screwed up in such an underwhelming manner is frustrating. It really does not do this incredible story justice and the cast are all better than this and deserved better. Didn't come out feeling insulted or offended watching 'Entebbe', at the same time the film left me disappointed and frustrated.
There are plus points here. Daniel Bruhl and Rosamund Pike actually fare very well in the lead roles. While Bruhl's as expected thoughtful, gravitas-filled and charismatic performance keeps one glued Pike impressed me more in the more challenging role (including having a German accent, not an easy one to master and one stereotyped very variably a lot, and having apparently to learn German, thought though she was fluent in the language already) and the one that the film tries most to develop.
'Entebbe' starts off intriguingly and there are parts where the production values have slickness and atmosphere. There is one scene that did have emotional impact and did leave me haunted, that was Pike's phone scene.
However, the rest of the cast don't fare so well and it is largely down to the way the characters are written. Eddie Marsan is just bizarre and how Peres is written and characterised felt wrong and out of kilter. Nonso Anozie is nowhere near sinister enough as Amin, the man was a monster and Anozie completely fails to bring that on screen. Ben Schnetzer's role doesn't make sense and felt under-developed. The chemistry between the actors is very disconnected, on the most part this is including between Bruhl and Pike through no fault of their own.
It's not the cast that are to blame here. The one-sided and biased way the roles are written, including trying to humanise the lead characters, making Peres' and Amin's roles one-dimensional and painting the Palestinians in an objectionable light, is more of a problem. Even when trying to tell the events from multiple, even all, view-points which fails to tell one very much and quickly became over-stuffed.
As is the less than taut and rather preachy script, that runs out of steam far too quickly and it constantly feels we are running in circles with nothing new being told and being told the obvious and the same thing more than once. The direction is both pedestrian and gimmicky, often muddled and like not-knowing-what-to-do-with-the-material standard, and too often the production values are drab and dizzying, the slow motion in the final raid was not necessary, trivialised the already too downplayed violence and made me feel uncomfortable. The scene should have been tense but was anything but, feeling too much like an afterthought.
Much has also been made of the use and cross-cutting of modern dancing. This was overused, out of place, gimmicky and not even that well choreographed. It really diluted what little tension there already was and it made it very hard to take the film seriously. Found it very annoying and even disrespectful that 'Entebbe' had this suspense-filled and riveting story and make it dull and devoid of tension and suspense, with what should have been the most prominent and compelling events (the planning of the raid and the raid itself especially) being given short shrift and treated in a far too safe manner. What was more prominent and significantly less interesting was handled turgidly and in a biased fashion. It felt like there was little at stake when there was actually a huge amount.
Overall, a disappointing film that has pluses but also a lot of minuses. The cast and the story deserved better. 4/10 Bethany Cox
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