Director: Toa Fraser
Writer: Glenn Standring
Stars: Jamie Bell, Mark Strong, Abbie Cornish
Plot: In April 1980, armed gunmen stormed the Iranian Embassy in Princes Gate, London and took all inside hostage. Over the next six days a tense standoff took place, all the while a group of highly trained soldiers from the SAS prepared for a raid the world had never seen.
Running Time: 94 Minutes
IMDB Score: 6.2
Why I Watched It: Didn’t really know much about it but the trailer and the cast made up my mind.
Random Thoughts: This is based on a true story and I honestly don’t remember even hearing about it. Now that’s a good bad thing, on the good side I don’t know how it turns out but on the bad side I don’t know if they’re staying true to the events.
On a side note here I think Mark Strong is such an underrated actor, he’s caught in that grey area of character actor but sometime leading man, granted in mostly British films, but he’s always good I’m just waiting for that breakout role where more people know his name.
What I Liked: Not knowing about this really did help me with the tension and also how this all happened so I wasn’t bored with it at all. This comes down to being a hostage movie but it has many different moving parts and I think that what I liked about the film, it doesn’t focus on one thing. We have the hostage takers, the police who are negotiating with them, the press outside not only reporting but waiting, the government behind close doors deciding what to do and the team of SAS soldiers waiting to get called on.
My favorite part is with the SAS, cause we’ve seen hostage movies before but to get a chance to see the SAS getting ready and then have to wait to see if and when they go in was very interesting and different. Jamie Bell shines in this part as one of the SAS waiting, he’s quiet intense and says a lot with just looks and facial expressions, he’s tough without having to go over the top macho about it. The parts where you see them wait and then go over different ways of going in is very interesting.
Mark Strong is the best part about the hostage negotiating. He’s mostly on the phone, he plays the main Cop on site and he shows compassion and also helplessness, there isn’t much he can do except bide time. The reporters are the weakness part as their not given much screen time but Abie Cornish is good here, I wish she had more to do.
The film is for the most part mostly talking but the end we do get some action and it’s filmed and acted very well, they show the speed and precision that these men trained for.
What I Didn’t Like: For the most part the film lacked energy, it’s well done but it seems very workman like, not a lot of energy and the film takes on almost a documentary type feel to it, we’re on the outside looking in and I didn’t feel connected at times.
The weakest part is the actual hostage situation it’s acted well and shot well but it’s cliches after cliches, we’ve seen this a hundred times, there’s the one man “terrorist” who is calm and wants everyone to get out alive and then the other more hotheaded one who you know is going to make things harder and it just seemed mailed in, we don’t really learn much about them and we don’t even get to know the hostages that well either.
This is a case where I think the film needed maybe 15 minutes added on so we could flesh out the characters better so we got the sense of who they were. At the end of the film we get of course titles telling us of what happened to these people and commenting on them, we the reporter played by Abbie Cornish became a household name because of her reporting but we don’t really get to see much of that or get a feel for her. I think we dealt with too many behind the door meetings with politicians that really didn’t add much we hadn’t seem a hundred times before. I’m glad they didn’t cast someone as Margaret Thatcher, that would have been distracting, we do hear what she wants though.
I think in the end what I liked about the film hurt it a bit, by showing us all the different moving parts we didn’t get the focus some of them needed to make it a better film.
Final Thoughts: A well made and a very well acted film, it’s worth the watch.