How entertaining? ★★★☆☆
Thought provoking? ★★☆☆☆
25 March 2012
This a movie review of RAID ON ENTEBBE.
“Intelligence informs us they will begin killing hostages on Sunday.” Shimon Peres (Tige Andrews)
“The string has run out, Hmm?” Yitzhak Rabin (Peter Finch)
“Then why are we debating the military plan? Let them go!” Shimon Peres
“Because it is not perfect.” Yitzhak Rabin:
“Yitzhak, that's a joke! Here you are concerned with perfection, and... And we don't have a choice!” Shimon Peres
“There will be two hundred of our best people on those planes... I damned well do have a choice!” Yitzhak Rabin
This 1976 reconstruction of a hijacking of an Air France passenger plane could’ve been by-the-numbers, instead THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK’s director, Irvin Kershner, and an all-star cast (Peter Finch, Charles Bronson, James Woods, Robert Loggia, Jack Warden, John Saxon and Yaphet Kotto) elevate RAID ON ENTEBBE into a thriller than avoids banality. Based on a true story, passengers are put through a horrific eight day ordeal as their plane is diverted to Entebbe Airport in Uganda, at the time of dictator Idi Amin (Kotto). The terrorists want the Israeli government to release prisoners in their jails, in exchange for the handover of 100 of their citizens on the flight. Their capture and separation has echoes of the horrors of the Second World War.
While we see what the hostages are suffering, the Israeli government and military special forces go through the wringer deciding how to proceed. The camerawork and performances add momentum, and the empathy with both the passengers and tactical decision makers are conveyed efficiently. There is an avoidance of cheesy dialogue and poor acting; and a particularly nice moment when Woods’ Sammy Berg says goodbye to his father, though the story of where he is really going (to be involved in a top secret rescue attempt) is covered over to the silent worry and non-belief of his parent.
A well-executed thriller where the stakes are never in doubt.