7 Days in Entebbe, C-
Rated PG-13, 107 minutes
The dull, preachy thriller "7 Days in Entebbe" is based on real events that took place in the 1970's when pro-Palestinian radicals hijacked a plane and took it to Uganda. The film's mission - in plodding detail - seems to be to inform and instruct, rather than tell a solid story.
In 1976, Palestinian and German terrorists (including "Captain America: Civil War's" Daniel Bruhl and "Gone Girl's" Rosamund Pike) hijacked Air France Flight 139 en route from Tel Aviv, Israel to Paris, France via Athens, Greece. They held the passengers and crew hostage at Entebbe and demanded a ransom of $5 million for the airplane and the release of 53 Palestinians and pro-Palestinian militants, many of whom were prisoners in Israel. When all diplomatic efforts failed, the Israeli government approved a counter-terrorist hostage rescue operation by IDF commandos.
"7 Days in Entebbe" is a well-cast yet tedious political thriller with many unnecessary debates about Middle East politics; its didactic tone strikes some false notes here, and if you're unsure about which side you're on or why all of this happened, you're likely to still be unsure. Directed by "RoboCop's" Jose Padilha and written by Scottish playwright Gregory Burke, the first section is OK as the events unfold, but the longer it goes on, you're likely to lose interest.
Bruhl and Pike are the radicals, while Eddie Marsan is an Israeli government official, and "The Book Thief's" Jay Schnetzer leads the military group that helps rescue the hostages. Schnetzer's entire storyline is fictional, added here to give some insight to the "other side" that was brought in by the Israeli government for the rescue mission, but it actually gives little insight and seems mostly like filler. Bruhl is good as one of the radicals, though Pike is badly miscast here as German pro-Palestinian radical Brigette Kuhlmann.
Padilha's sluggish, flat direction doesn't help, and writer Burke seem content to add long, preachy conversations at every turn, and rather than building intensity, the muddled plotting diffuses any sort of intended "Argo"-like tension, with the climactic shoot-out at the end leaving several key players dead.
The deeply unsatisfying "7 Days in Entebbe" is likely to feel as long as 7 days watching it, and you're better off skipping it and reading about it or watch one of the 1970's TV versions, each with all-star casts that make it more entertaining than this misfire.