7 Days in Entebbe

Mar 13, 2018

Although it may play a bit loose with the facts, 7 Days has powerfully relayed the deadly tensions of a fraught week in recent history.

7 Days in Entebee

Grade: B+

Director: Jose Padilla (Robo Cop)

Screenplay: Gregory Burke (‘71)

Cast: Rosamund Pike, Daniel Bruhl

Rating: PG 13

Runtime: 1 hr 46 min

by John DeSando

If you want to feel the tension between Israel and Palestine in an old context, 1976, but a contemporary resonance, then see 7 Days in Entebbe, a well-told fictionalized docudrama about the hijacking of an Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Paris by The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Germans sympathetic to the cause. Director Jose Padilla puts you realistically in the crowded Ugandan terminal and on the tarmac with pirates and soldiers and a crazed Idi Amin (Nonso Anozle) for grim color.

Although this story is a combination of history and fiction, the sense is that writer Gregory Burke got it right. Join Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (Lior Ashkenazi) as he spars with defense minister Shimon Peres (Eddie Marsan) about the right strategy for saving the hostages. The film does well to translate the agonizing decisions, against a backdrop of limited time and a time-honored Israeli tradition not to negotiate with terrorists. Never is it easy, and the decision will be fraught with contradictions.

The rescue by the commandoes in the Israeli Defense Force is told here with chilling clarity that defines the brave troops saving more than a hundred civilians. As the director cuts between the Israeli war room and the hostage situation, he lets us witness the tension between lead hijackers: sympathetic German, Boni (Daniel Bruhl); and hardcore revolutionary Brigitte (Rosamund Pike).

Although in real life their arc may not have moved so easily to resisting killing hostages, here the film nudges them into humanism without letting the audience forget they are still revolutionaries and the circumstances toxic.  7 Days in Entebbe is a way of experiencing terrorism and territoriality up close and personal.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at