Months before I was born in 1980, the Iranian Embassy was overtaken by six armed gunmen willing to die for their cause. Members of the Democratic Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Arabistan, they demanded that Arab prisoners in the Iranian province of Khuzestan be released and safely returned to their homes and families.
Margaret Thatcher was sitting Prime Minister at the time and clearly expressed that no terrorist group would be given their demands in means of the negotiation. Six days in a tumultuous encounter unlike anything experienced before in London, the nation was rocked and tensions were high.
Bringing each of the UK’s high powers together, every angle was considered and all fell short toward safely rescuing the 25 hostages. Turning to the blunt force professionalism of carnage, the SAS was deployed after 40 years laying low below the radar as a force to be reckoned with. Compiled of the most elite of soldiers, the SAS would remain on standby for the duration of the takeover simply waiting for their orders to shoot all gunmen and rescue all hostages.
What takes time in such an operation…planning, planning, and more planning. The Western World had seen very little terrorist activity to this magnitude and the excessive force continuum was more gracious in a non-wielding firearm nation like England. Stakes were high as negotiators and political relations were sifting through the cost of life on both sides of the coin.
Postponing, planning, and progressing day by day the cause was weakening and the hope for a peaceful resolution was marred. When nothing else could be left to chance, the SAS received the orders to take out the gunmen and rescue the remaining hostages. Armed with explosives, abseiling through windows, and aiming down the barrels of high powered assault rifles, the terrorists had no clue the havoc that was entering their plans for a liberated future.
Six days transposes the battle of attrition in any standoff. The film is slow, but beautifully captures the tensions and emotion around the potential loss of life and the clashing of emotionally charged objectives. Rallying behind the role of media, law enforcement, politicians, and special-forces, six days sets a precedence toward how each branch can successfully work together.
Mark Strong and Jamie Bell have standout performances that pull together the emotion and philosophical dilemma toward the encounter of fulfilling your duties to ensure at the end of the day, the good guys go home.
Rating: RP13 Violence & offensive language.