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Entebbe (dir. Padilha)

Image: Daniel Brühl and Rosamund Pike in Entebbe © Photograph by Liam Daniel [Source: IMDB]

 ★★☆☆☆

Updating on Kershner’s television movie from 1976. Entebbe or 7 Days in Entebbe depicts the political nightmare that is Israel versus Palestine, a plane hijacking by German terrorists and a wild eccentric President who gave terrorists refuge. Entebbe shows the true to life events of Entebbe in 1976 and the daring rescue mission that took place to save hostages of a tense terrorist plot to force Israel into releasing their prisoners of war.

Director: Jose Padilha. Starring:  Rosamund PikeEddie MarsanDaniel Brühl [12A]

It is a story that has been told numerous times on-screen, continuing to be prevalent today as it was in 1976. The conflict between Israel and Palestine presses on, so the first question when approaching a film about this particular event is ‘how is it different?’ or ‘why is it being done again?’.

Padilha addresses this right off the bat. This is the same story being told once again but from the terrorist perspective with some more interpretive elements that push the films adventurous agenda. Entebbe is aiming to be as unbiased as it can while recounting these events, mostly achieving just this. While the terrorists commit this act there is an element of sympathy to them and their cause. Bruhl and Pike play their characters outstandingly well and it becomes easy to lend some sympathy to them. Sadly we don’t get a fuller picture of their telling of events. Quickly turning the films unbiased approach into a clearly one-sided affair because the hostages or Israel for that matter are given little discourse but are made out to be the ones under attack.

Still, Padilha succeeds in recounting the events with clarity. But this also acts against him, the films pacing and plotting lack drive with none of the scenes or characters sparking any interest. It is a story you are only ever interested in its surface because there is little beneath to explore. Contrary to this, however, is Padilha’s bold inclusion of interpret dance, while the segues to introduce this element are indistinct, doing little but stopping the story entirely. The results pay off massively, adding a much need provocative feature to the unfolding events, especially the distinct parallel editing towards the film’s climax.

These moments aside, however, Entebbe never clicks the way it needs to with the audience. Its confident outing is certainly admirable and adds much-needed flavour to an otherwise samey retelling. In the end, it is just that, a retelling. Which is why it falls flat or on deaf ears depending on the viewer’s knowledge of the event. Some enticing performances aside, it is adventurous in its narrative but falls short of being worth the time. Entebbe is just another rehash of a story already told, the only saving grace being the poignancy of reiterating just how long the conflict between Israel and Palestine has been raging.

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