Chris Evans leads an audacious rescue effort in Netflix’s true life-inspired drama The Red Sea Diving Resort

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The Red Sea Diving Resort is Netflix’s upcoming Chris Evans-led drama/thriller written and directed by Gideon Raff (Homeland, Dig). It’s based on the true story of a Mossad operation that rescued thousands of Ethiopian Jews from Sudan.

In the early ‘80s, millions of Ethiopians fled famine and civil war in their homeland, with many ending up living in dreadful conditions in Sudanese refugee camps and among them were a long-isolated group of Ethiopian Jews. Their plight came to the attention of the Israeli government who were determined to repatriate the Jewish refugees, but the problem was compounded by Sudan being a Muslim-majority country and part of the Arab League which was intensely hostile towards Israel at the time.

While in the process of determining how to evacuate the refugees, Mossad agents stumbled across a small village on the coast of the Red Sea known as Arous, which had been constructed in the early ‘70s by Italian investors hoping to start a seaside tourist resort but was soon abandoned. Recognising the value of the location (Israel shares a coast on The Red Sea), they devised an audacious plan to reopen the resort as a cover for their operation to smuggle refugees out of the country.

Over the course of the next few years a group of Mossad agents rebuilt and ran the resort, where it was incredibly popular and even turned a profit in its own right, and in the process managed to evacuate nearly 18,000 Ethiopian Jews via sea and nearby desert landing strips – all without local employees, guests, or the Sudanese government aware of what was really going on. The operation was swiftly shut down however when its existence was carelessly revealed to the press.

The real story is a fascinating tale in its own right and you can read a bit more about it here, but since this is a movie let’s take a look:

I think this looks like a decent movie, but given the star-power involved that seems damning with faint praise. It just felt a bit flat to me – the plot comes across as a simplistic good guys versus bad guys story, with the good guys being all moral, upstanding, and prone to heroic speeches, while the bad guys are sneering and evil.

Or maybe I’m just feeling grumpy. What do you think?

The official plot synopsis is as follows:

Inspired by remarkable true life rescue missions, The Red Sea Diving Resort is the incredible story of a group of international agents and brave Ethiopians who in the early ‘80s used a deserted holiday retreat in Sudan as a front to smuggle thousands of refugees to Israel. The undercover team carrying out this mission is led by the charismatic Ari Levinson (Chris Evans) and courageous local Kabede Bimro (Michael Kenneth Williams).

The Red Sea Diving Resort will premiere on Netflix on 31 July. It also stars Haley Bennett, Alessandro Nivola, Michiel Huisman, Chris Chalk, Greg Kinnear, and Ben Kingsley.

Last Updated: July 17, 2019

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