A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that 7 Days in Entebbe is based on the true story of a 1976 plane hijacking from Israel by Palestinian and German terrorists (aka "freedom fighters") and the ensuing rescue attempt. It has fairly strong violence, including guns and shooting, threats made with guns, hitting/punching, bloody wounds, and discussions of death. Language isn't frequent but includes a use of "f--k" and a use of the German version of "s--t" ("Scheisse"). Characters drink socially and smoke frequently (accurate for the period), and one character takes several "wake up" pills, with no real consequences. While the movie tries to be factual and detailed, it doesn't do a particularly good job getting its messages across, and it can be quite dry and dull. Teens or adults interested in the facts behind the story are encouraged to seek additional resources.
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What's the story?
In 7 DAYS IN ENTEBBE, it's 1976, and German activists Wilfried Bose (Daniel Bruhl) and Brigitte Kuhlmann (Rosamund Pike) decide that they need to do something in the world, rather than just talk about it. So they join forces with Palestinian "freedom fighters" to hijack a plane that's traveling from Israel to Paris. They land the plane at Entebbe airport in Uganda, a country where Idi Amin (Nonso Anozie) rules and has agreed to help. As time goes on, the hijackers release some of the hostages, but it becomes clear to Wilfried that the Jewish passengers aren't among them; they're being separated, presumably for some darker fate. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (Lior Ashkenazi) knows that Israel has a policy of not dealing with terrorists; nonetheless, he agrees to negotiate. But at the same time, he approves a dangerous rescue plan. Will the hostages be saved before it's too late?
Is it any good?
Based on real-life events, this dramatic thriller somehow lacks both drama and thrills. 7 Days in Entebbe concentrates on motivations rather than personalities, and its focus on details seems more dutiful than interesting. Director Jose Padilha made both the harrowing documentary Bus 174 and the surprisingly solid, action-packed remake of RoboCop; this film falls directly in between. But it lacks any kind of documentary-like immediacy or urgency; it doesn't really get inside the story. And it doesn't come anywhere close to a thriller; its approach is too dry and dull for that.
It's interesting to look at the success of thematically similar movies, like Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. The former managed to take a true story and make crackerjack entertainment based on it, and in the latter, high-powered, behind-the-scenes meetings are made tense and riveting. 7 Days in Entebbe, meanwhile, almost deliberately captures the boredom of the movie's dire situation, rather than its tension. Artistically, the movie attempts to draw parallels by cutting a performance of the Batsheva Dance Company in with the story, but even that feels forced. 7 Days in Entebbe is clearly intelligently written and competently directed, but, as it goes on, the effect is less emotional or thoughtful than it is distancing and clinical.
Talk to your kids about ...
Does this seem like a true story? Why might filmmakers decide to change some of the facts in a movie based on real life? How could you find out more?
The hijackers are described as both "freedom fighters" and "terrorists." How can their acts be seen as both good and bad?
How does the movie depict smoking? Why was smoking more common during the '70s? Does the movie make it seem glamorous?
- In theaters: March 16, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: July 3, 2018
- Cast: Rosamund Pike, Daniel Bruhl, Eddie Marsan
- Director: José Padilha
- Studio: Focus Features
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: History
- Run time: 106 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence, some thematic material, drug use, smoking and brief strong language
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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