When armed gunmen seize the Iranian Embassy in 1980, a tense six-day standoff ensues while elite British soldiers prepare for a dangerous raid.
Director: Toa Fraser
Starring: Mark Strong, Martin Shaw, Jamie Bell, Abbie Cornish, Toa Fraser, Ben Turner, Tim Pigott-Smith, Martin Hancock, Robert Portal, Andrew Grainger, Aymen Hamdouchi, Emun Elliott, Colin Garlick
Information Page: https://uk.newonnetflix.info/info/80178280
For those who don’t know the story, in April of 1980 the Iranian embassy was stormed by six armed men demanding the release of hostages in Iran over the mistreatment of their tribe by the Persians in Iran, but the UK had poor relations with Iran at the time and Iran was not going to give them anything. The UK was on it’s own and then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, had the difficult decision of whether or not to allow the SAS to storm the Embassy to rescue the 26 hostages. She made the decision that there would be no media smoke screen and for the proceedings to play out onscreen. These are the events that form the basis for this Netflix Original docu-drama. I wasn’t even born when the real events took place so I have no recollection of those days so I will be reviewing purely from an entertainment stance.
Although 6 Days is a low budget film it doesn’t have a low budget feel to it, the acting and cinematography is practically faultless although I wasn’t completely impressed with Abbie Cornish’s portrayal of BBC reporter Kate Adie which at times felt a little wooden and emotionless. On the flip side, Jamie Bell’s portrayal of SAS Blue Team – back door Assault Team Leader Rusty Firmin is both believable and shows the rollercoaster of emotions that an operation like this must create. Unlike most films, there was no clear lead character, as most had minor but important roles within the film, however, this also meant that sometimes it was not clear who was doing what. There is good use of archive media footage during the whole film which helps add to the realism.
The film is not a fast-paced thriller nor was it intended to be. It is a depiction of what happened during those harrowing six days and how well the planning and execution of the SAS team handled the rescue of the hostages, however, at times the SAS look more like a ragtag bunch of lads than a well trained elite squad.
People looking for an action-packed thriller with a high body count won’t find that here. This is a true story so things are realistic, not full of bravado and death-defying heroism. The siege lasted 6 days so a lot of the story is about planning by the rescue by the SAS and the role of the negotiator (Mark Strong) and the government policy behind the rescue. Unlike action movies where one guy would take down all the terrorists, it’s refreshing to see the planning and the uncertainty about planning a rescue mission. From the negotiators point of view, the lack of knowledge and being caught between the different interests is quite interesting too.
Overall, this is a solidly made drama with good performances and a suitable dour colour palette matching the setting of the 1980s and I would recommend it.
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