A Brave Try, But It Tries To Be Too Much.
You’ve watched at least two films on the Air France airplane being hijacked by PLO and German Freedom fighters from Athens and taken to Entebbe where the Israelis staged a dramatic rescue of their natives. This film tries to balance out the hijacker’s point of view to the Israeli point of view and attempts to look kindly at hostages as well as… You get the picture? The film attempts to sit on too many stools and falls down.
Cinema needs to have a point of view. Right or wrong does matter, a story needs to take a stand. You won’t have heroes and villains if the narrative humanises Darth Vader, say or even Gabbar Singh. They need to be bad, so we can cheer Luke Skywalker and Jai and Veeru.
We understand that hijackers were not merely doing ‘timepass’ as Indians say – when they’re idly watching the highlights of the 1984 cricket world cup semi finals – when hijacking the flight. They were not practising for something bigger. They had to have reason. And it seems pretty lame reason for a publisher to get into the revolution business. or for that matter for others (‘one revolutionary was killed so we want to hijack a plane’ seems illogical). But Daniel Bruhl makes a difference to the narrative. He shows us how a good guy doing a bad thing has a conscience that will not let him shoot innocent people. His, ‘We did not sign up for this’ is a cry everyone should heed. People are still being pushed into extremism when they just wanted justice in the world today.
Eddie Marsan plays Shimon Peres is so uncannily like the original, it is weird to see him on screen. The Israeli politics is really well documented, and you wish they had spent more time on this rather than the hijackers. The conversation between Rabin and Peres is legendary and documented. It is a pity, there’s not enough in the film.
Idi Amin, the man who kept human head in freezers for consumption is shown to be so genial here, you barely imagine him as the cruel dictator, cannibal, madman who ruled Uganda with machine guns and black magic. His regime was so brutal and violent, you cannot imagine him saying, ‘I’m sorry, your governments are trying to do their best…’ to the hostages at Entebbe.
By the time the rescue happens, you are wondering where the point of view of the story is going. By the time Rosamund Pike who plays the German hijacker Bridgette Kuhlmann feels awful and can feel the certainty of death, you just wish a bullet that Gabbar and his dacoits spray in the air in the past (1975) would travel through time and kill her and end our misery.