THE RED SEA DIVING RESORT
(director/writer: Gideon Raff; cinematographer: Roberto Schaefer; editor: Tim Squyres; music: Mychael Danna; cast: Chris Evans (Ari Levinson), Michael Kenneth Williams (Kabede Bimro), Alessandro Nivola (Sammy Navon), Ben Kingsley (Ethan Levin), Mark Ivanir (Barack Isaacs), Haley Bennett (Rachel Reiter), Michiel Huisman (Jake Wolf), Alex Hassell (Max Rose), Chris Chalk (Col.Abdel Ahmed), Greg Kinnear (Walton Bowen, CIA agent); Runtime: 129; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Alexandra Milchan, Gideon Raff, Aaron L. Gilbert; Netflix; 2019-Israel-English, Sudanese dialogue)
“It’s an unfortunate white savior flick, for whatever that implies.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Israeli writer/director Gideon Raff (“Train”/”The Killing Floor”) bases it on a true heroic story but the film is awkwardly delivered, poorly paced and is not helped by a sappy script. The thriller fails to convert the heroic story it inherits into the rich cinematic experience it deserves. The amazing true story is of a group of Israeli Mossad agents in the early 80s posing as kibbutz-like hoteliers on the Red Sea coast (in the midst of an Ethiopian civil war) who use a deserted scuba diving resort resort (renamed by Mossad as The Red Sea Diving Resort) in Sudan as a front to smuggle thousands of Ethiopian Jewish refugees living in the camps to Israel. Meanwhile European tourists continue to flock to the resort unaware of its purpose.
Chris Evans, who was Captain America, stars as the reckless but good-guy hero (never convinces in the role, as he still thinks he’s Captain America). Chris is the Mossad agent Ari Levinson, who brainstorms the idea of the rescue mission and brings together a team of all-white rescuers to save the black Africans. They are recruits such as the martial arts expert/flight-attendant Rachel Reiter (Haley Bennett), the questioning lecherous physician Sammy Navon (Alessandro Nivola), the diving expert Jake Wolf (Michiel Huisman) and the sharpshooter Max Rose (Alex Hassell). Each is given an alias and told they’re on their own if captured. Operation Brothers, the mission name in the movie, is signed off by top Mossad brass such as the Talmudic Ethan Levine (Ben Kingsley) and the volatile top Mossad boss Barack Isaacs (Mark Ivanir).
It’s an unfortunate white savior flick, for whatever that implies.
The Ethiopian rebel leader Kabede Bimro (Michael Kenneth Williams) is the sole black ally to the Mossad, but is given an underwritten role.
The film’s villain, the film’s most convincing actor, is the menacing Sudanese troop leader, Col. Abdel Ahmed (Chris Chalk), who is suspicious of the resort. The rousing music at the resort features Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf.”
REVIEWED ON 8/16/2019