7 Days in Entebbe is a film with high aspirations. Based on the true story of a 1976 Air France hijacking and subsequent seven-day captivity of 83 Israeli hostages, it has the potential for a serviceable hostage thriller. Instead, it squanders that energy on a geopolitical procedural and a strained parable about the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Director José Padiha's movie opens with German nationals Brigitte (Rosamund Pike) and Wilfried (Daniel Brühl) hijacking an Air France flight bound for Tel Aviv. They believe Israel is a fascist nation. "An action like this," Wilfried says, "can inspire a new generation of followers." They divert the plane to Entebbe, Uganda, where they will breathe and sleep in the airport for the next seven days.
This should have been the movie, but it becomes an afterthought. The film transports us 4,000 miles away to Yitzhak Rabin and his cabinet who have just learned of the hostage situation. They smoke cigarette after cigarette and debate the proper reaction. All of the narrative tension is taken out of the hostage situation and relocated to these government offices, where it gasps and withers.
CRITIC'S RATING: 1/4 stars.
7 Days in Entebbe is rated PG-13 and opens Friday, March 16 at Clackamas.