For many of us, Thanksgiving Day is a day of feasting on turkey, all of the sides and lots of good sweets and pies that throw our diets out the window for a few days. And for many more that includes watching copious amounts of football.
Families gather around the television, or up here in New England, go to the early morning high school Thanksgiving Day games and then go home to eat and watch more football in the afternoon between feasts. But many folks are on the non-football kick right now. So if you’re one of those or are relaxing at home this weekend when the women folk all rush out to do those ridiculous “Black Friday” sales, there is no better time to pop in a DVD and watch a good action film.
For Thanksgiving Day weekend this year, I’d recommend a new film that came out this year about a real event that went down 37 years ago.
“6 Days” is about the takeover of the Iranian Embassy in London in 1980. Six men burst into the Embassy and took 26 people hostage. The world was already watching the American hostage saga going on in Tehran but the situation in London unfolded on television, including the dramatic takedown during Operation Nimrod by the British SAS (Special Air Service), on live television.
6 Days takes place from April 30 – May 5, 1980. Margaret Thatcher is still a new Prime Minister in England and although we don’t see or hear from her until the final moments in the film, her trademark iron will is pushed down to the smaller government operatives who were actively involved in the siege of the Embassy.
The Director, Toa Fraser isn’t crafting an intricate character development story here. He’s telling this story in the context of a docudrama. If you’re looking for a ton of CGI with over the top explosions and a storyline that takes a lot of liberties with the actual events, then 6 Days probably isn’t for you. It is as realistic and gritty as the Real McCoy.
The film is told from several different perspectives. It begins with scenes inside the embassy and what the filmmakers perceive to be (since this part of the story really isn’t known) discussions between the terrorist leader, Salim (Ben Turner), and his fellow terrorists as well as the interaction between the terrorists and the hostages.
Police negotiator Max Vernon (Mark Strong) wants to negotiate this without any bloodshed although you know that isn’t going to happen. Strong is one of my favorite actors and always puts on a compelling performance. He’s excellent as always and the scenes with him are among the best in the film.
But the protagonist of the film is Rusty Firmin, the SAS team leader played expertly by Jamie Bell. The SAS men spend the entire six days getting ready and preparing for the call to enter. As Firmin himself stated in his book, he just wanted to hear from his Squadron Commander the words “Go! Go! Go!
And from the press perspective, the filmmakers have added the reporter Kate Adie who was played by Abbie Cornish. Her scenes seem a little stiff and forced despite her being a witness to what was to unfold in front of our eyes.
The best part of the film’s finale-setting action sequence is the tense back and forth between conversations between Strong and Turner. As the negotiations get tense, the filmmakers cut back to Firmin and his SAS men preparing to breach.
Once the terrorists kill a hostage and toss him out on the street, the SAS are called in and with the results that one would expect from, at that time, the best counter-terrorism unit in the world. Firmin and his men do a tightly choreographed dance of death that took all of 17 minutes to neutralize the threat and move the hostages out.
6 Days isn’t the typical action film but it is true to life docudrama that stuck to the facts and told the story straight. It isn’t a “big picture” kind of film. It doesn’t tell the politics of the situation and what the character’s motivation was. It is a down-in-the-dirt first-person perspective of the people involved at the lowest level
It is a worthwhile film and for those of you who are fans of the SAS, you won’t be disappointed. Put this one in the DVD this weekend and you won’t be disappointed.
Rusty Firmin who was a team leader for the SAS on Operation Nimrod, sat down with SOFREP.com’s Jack Murphy back in June and spoke about the actual operation and his being involved with the film. His interview can be found here:
Photos: Wikimedia, SAS