6 Days brings tense standoff to the big screen

On the 30th April, 1980, armed gunmen stormed the Iranian Embassy in Princes Gate, London and took those inside hostage. Over the next six days, a tense standoff took place while a group of highly trained soldiers from the SAS prepared for a raid that would thrust the covert Special Air Service into the public eye, not only in the UK but the world.

The British-New Zealand film 6 Days features an eclectic cast of Hollywood A-listers and local Kiwi talent. Jamie Bell stars as Rusty Firmin, the lance corporal who commanded the SAS soldiers during the Iranian Embassy siege. Bell’s character is somewhat muted with limited dialog but he does convey the part with immense tension while physically looking every bit the soldier. Mark Strong is the real lead of this movie as Chief Inspector, Max Vernon. His scenes as the primary negotiator provide much of the movie’s tension and gravitas.

However, it’s the incredible turn of Ben Turner who plays Salim, the leader of the Iranian terrorists, who gives the most outstanding performance of the film. He gives a sympathetic performance that humanises the previously untold story of a not so villainous villain as the screenplay gives us a three-dimensional character: an interesting perspective on a much-documented historic event.

I enjoyed Tim Downie’s performance as Jimmy the tabloid journo portrayed with just the right amount of slime and squirm. Unfortunately, Abbie Cornish as Kate Adie didn’t dazzle me but it didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the film. It was also great to see some local NZ actors – Andrew Grainger and Sam Snedden – turn up; I’m more used to seeing on the stage than on screen in this film.

Lachlan Anderson’s score rumbles through the movie intensifying every emotionally straining scene. New Zealand director Toa Fraser (The Dead Lands) has recreated those fateful days in London accurately and with substance telling all sides of a terrifying and tense ordeal.

Just like Dunkirk, this true story will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. 6 days is an intense and brilliant watch.

Reviewed by Ian Wright.

4 stars small