Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"The story expands beyond the conventions of a Boys Own adventure"

What happened at Entebbe airport, Uganda, in 1976 was the finest 90 minutes in highjacking history. How did the Israelis manage it? How did they save so many lives? Movies have been made, books written.

Here comes another.

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This time it is different. By concentrating on the highjackers and the Israeli government's decision to ignore their rules of engagement the story expands beyond the conventions of a Boys Own adventure.

Two of the highjackers are Palestinian and two German, Brigitte (Rosamund Pike) and Wilfried (Daniel Bruhl), who are the ones followed most closely. The plane, en route from Tel Aviv to Paris, has 94 Jews and 148 others, mainly French, on board.

They refuel in North Africa before heading south. Uganda is far enough away and Idi Amin is only too happy to help. Also, he makes the most of the publicity when those without Israeli passports are allowed to leave.

Meanwhile in Tel Aviv the politicians debate their options. Could Mossad and special forces pull off some kind of raid? The airport, which is not the main Entebbe airport but the old one, now out of service, is guarded by Amin's army. Also, Israel, like many other countries, including Britain, have a policy of not negotiating with terrorists. Henry Kissinger's advice is that it would be better to let everyone die rather can consider the highjackers' demands for the release of prisoners.

Unlike United 93 and other films on the subject the hostages are not the central players. Brigitte has a connection with Baader Meinhof and despite her boyfriend's warning that Germans killing Jews, if it came to that, would eradicate any message of support for the freedom of the Palestinian state, she feels it is her duty as a woman and an anarchist to be there. Wilfried is a bookseller, a pacifist. There is no way he is going to kill anyone except in self defense (maybe). His conscience demands his presence.

The tension before the soldiers fly out is within the Israeli government. Time is limited. Amin promises to kill two children every hour if there is no resolution. Nerves are stretched as are democratic ideals. Nothing is guaranteed.

No one knows what is worse. No one knows what is best. How many people must die? Is this an act of war, or an act of God?

Is this Mission Impossible for real?

Reviewed on: 09 May 2018
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Dramatisation of the rescue attempt after the 1976 hijacking of an Air France flight en route from Tel Aviv to Paris.
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Director: José Padilha

Writer: Gregory Burke

Starring: Rosamund Pike, Daniel Brühl, Eddie Marsan, Lior Ashkenazi, Denis Ménochet, Ben Schnetzer, Angel Bonanni, Andrea Deck, Nonso Anozie, Mark Ivanir

Year: 2018

Runtime: 107 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: United Kingdom, United States


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