Director: Toa Fraser
New film on Netflix offers a story of a six-day siege of the Iranian embassy in London in 1980. The story is not fictional for this event really happened. This is the main reason why I watched this film, as I am not normally a fan of action films.
The film tells a story from three perspectives. On the one hand, Max Vernon (Mark Strong) is trying to avoid military action and save not just the hostages but also terrorists as he clearly sees all lives as precious. On the other hand, SAS leader Rusty Firmin (Jamie Bell) is clearly waiting to take action and set hostages free. Finally, BBC news reporter Katie Adie (Abbie Cornish) is watching the whole drama with her colleague inside being one of the hostages so we have her story as well.
The film shows not just how politics works, e.g. the Prime Minister not being willing to compromise anything and her determines to show a strong hand and send a message to terrorists that their actions will not be tolerated in the UK. The film also shows how media operate and the importance of the media in managing politics and public expectations.
We also hear an interesting quarrel between the Daily Mail and the BBC, which closely resembles the image of BBC up to today (i.e. the Daily Mail reporter teases BBC reporters by saying they came to inflame the whole situation), as well as the image of the Daily Mail as not caring enough. In addition, we realise that the Government wanted a media spectacle of the siege and thus once the SAS action started media were encouraged to broadcast and report on the event in a live coverage. All this testifies how important media are for communicating with public, and showing citizens that Government is able to effectively protect them. This has not changed up to today.
Not a bad film, with some good action. I am not a fan of action films in general but I do like films based on a true story for in those films happy ending is never guaranteed.
I would just wish that the film had a bit more talk and understanding of the media and their importance, since this is underlined in the film message but I do not feel it was explored in sufficient details. However, the film was made using real locations and when one compares the actual media reports with the way the film was made, there is a sense of authenticity and a very real projection of what actually happened in 1980 (see video below with real media coverage and mind scenes and the angle from where the media reported in real life and then compare with the film).
I do not often comment on acting, but in this film I have to because acting is remarkable. For example, Mark Strong is very vividly portraying someone who cares about human lives more than anything, while Jamie Bell is brilliant in portraying impatient street fighter who wants to go into action and set hostages free. When it comes to Abbie Cornish, at first I thought her acting was appallingly poor but then I thought that it can’t be that such a poor actress was cast so I made an effort and looked for reports of the real Kate Adie. It turns out that she really spoke in a way Abbie Cornish speaks in the film (see here), which makes her acting impeccable.
Thank you for reading.