6 Days: Simple, Effective Retelling of the 1980 Iranian Embassy Siege in London
Abbie CornishJamie Bell...
Action & AdventureThriller
In 1 Cinema
Simplicity and tension are the two winning ingredients in Toa Fraser’s latest directorial venture, 6 Days; an onscreen dramatisation of an Iranian embassy siege that took place in London in 1980. Penned by Glenn Standring, who previously worked with Fraser on the 2014 action-adventure The Dead Lands, 6 Days makes for an intriguing watch and while it may not be oozing with big-screen theatrics or original approaches, it’s effortless and straightforward, resulting in a pleasing and most importantly, satisfying viewing experience.
The movie begins on the morning of April 30th 1980, as six gunmen storm into the Iranian embassy in South Kensington, London, taking all of its 26 hostage. The men, as we learn, are Iranian Arabs whose wish is that the Iranian province of Khuzestan to be liberated from Iranian rule and, in return, establish itself as an independent state. In addition, they request for the release of all Arab prisoners – currently held in Khuzestan’s prisons – a safe passageway for themselves out of England.
The first to make contact with the terrorists, who are led by Selim (Ben Turner), is police negotiator Max Vernon (Strong); a family man who has been tasked with keeping the perpetrators calm while the government figures out what they want to do. Meanwhile, the Special Air Service forces, including Rusty (played by Billy Elliot’s Jamie Bell) are put on standby, keeping themselves busy by practicing various rescue scenarios whilst inside the embassy, Selim is slowly losing control of the game.
One thing is for certain and that is that 6 Days is not an easy or stress-free watch. On the contrary, Fraser keeps the tension levels high throughout, with the anxiety of the situation, even during the film’s quieter moments, left lingering. Staying clear of unnecessary subplots, the structure of the story is clean and simple with Fraser mixing things up by telling the story from multiple points of views – which also includes the resilient news coverage from BBC reporter Katie Adie (Cornish) as well as the internal struggle of a newly-established squadron leader Rusty – and the archival footage of the highly-televised incident.
Slow-burning and intense, the writing and the directorial efforts pay off and while the story, as well as some of its characters – most particularly Mark Strong – could have done with a bit more depth, the film sufficient and effective in telling its story.