When I had first heard about the Red Sea Diving Resort, I fully admit that I had no idea really what the movie was. Was it a spy action? Thriller? True Story? The short answer is all of the above. The Red Sea Diving Resort is about a group of Israeli operatives who operated a fake vacation spot in Sudan while planning the rescue of Jewish Ethiopian refugees and bringing them to Israel back in the early to mid 80s. It stars Chris Evans in the lead role of Ari Levinson and features Haley Bennett and Ben Kingsley in supporting roles.
Having been completely oblivious to the fact that such an operation took ACTUALLY took place, when I finished The Red Sea Diving Resort, I felt it was necessary to do some digging of my own to learn a bit more about the background of these refugees and what I found out was incredible and what I learned gave me a greater appreciation of this movie and I strongly urge you to do the same. Click here for BBCs much deeper dive into the story. This story is so outrageous only Hollywood could come up with it but they didn’t. This is based on a true story and the real people who were there during the days of Operation Brothers aided in the film’s story being told.
At times the movie felt a tad on the disjointed for me. One scene in particular hit hard on that note. On one hand we have this incredibly noble mission being carried out and it’s tense. The dramatic effect of the night scenes were awesome but the next day we get to see Chris Evans wake up and stroll the beach seeing his people engaging in various resort like activities like tanning, running beach yoga classes and just generally having fun. A few scenes later we get a super fun montage video that would make any film maker from that era proud as hell to Duran Duran’s Hungry like the Wolf showcasing resort activities and other successful missions it’s then followed up by the most violent scene in the film and from there it stays firmly in the darker dreary side of the story.
As far as this being the first release for Chris Evans post Captain America it was a pretty good movie. It’s not going to win any academy awards but I found him to be quite enjoyable. For me one of my favorite scenes was when we get a glimpse of who Haley Bennet’s character Rachel Reiter is. She’s mysterious, beautiful but very dangerous and to be honest – I feel like she poised to breakout any time. Ben Kingsley is always so incredible. I wish he had more screen time.
While I really enjoyed the movie as a whole(I really don’t like getting to political or preachy in my posts so I’ll to keep this brief) and I appreciate the story being told and why I think they’re telling it, I’m not sure it hits the home-run. Allow me a moment to explain. During my research, I came across a great article that explained the background behind the exodus of so many Ethiopian Jews and that even after they had risked the lives of themselves and their families on this long dangerous journey they still faced a great deal of hardship and persecution upon arriving to Israel. Even now there are tensions over there between the citizens of Israel and the Ethopian Jewish community. More recently as this past July there was an incident involving a young Ethiopian was killed by an off duty police officer. Tensions are high there and many of these people still feel like they’re outcasts. I find that to be terribly sad. I feel like this movie was meant to give the Ethiopian Jews a sense of pride that their families were able to escape the horrors of their original homeland and to remind the Israeli Jews who, at one time welcomed them with open arms, that what they did for these people was a good thing.
All in all, I really enjoyed The Red Sea Diving Resort. It’s one of those movies that is sure to create discussion. Some of it will be very positive and some will be quite negative. It’s a very good movie and the simple fact that it’s based so firmly in fact is truly astonishing. My hats off to those brave men and women who worked so tirelessly to save these people and to those who fled Civil War to create a better more prosperous life for themselves and their family.