Directed by: #GideonRaff
Written by: Gideon Raff
Based on real-life events, The Red Sea Diving Resort tells the story of a group of Israeli Mossad agents who for a period of time in the early 1980s, ran a diving company out of an abandoned hotel on the coast of Sudan as a front to help smuggle Jewish-Ethiopian refugees fleeing religious persecution out of Sudan by sea to Israel.
Led by Ari Levinson (Chris Evans), the agents work with their local contact Kedebe (Michael K Williams) to rescue as many of these people as they can, all the while trying to hide their operation from dangerous military leader Colonel Abdel Ahmed (Chris Chalk), as well as having to actually run a hotel for the real tourists who have come to the resort for pleasure.
The Red Sea Diving Resort seems have one objective; to relentlessly drive home that this operation was extremely dangerous, something that one could easily surmise for themselves quite quickly. But nonetheless, the film seems to repeat the same three-phase cycle throughout; the supporting characters will remind us and Ari that they are in a life-threatening situation and should get out while they can, Ari will then retort with a passionate address about no one being left behind, and eventually they succumb until the next rescue operation where things don’t go according to plan (mainly due to recklessness from Ari), before we go through it all again, which after a while this all starts to wear a bit thin
That being said, the #Netflix film is paced relatively well, picking up during the action sequences which do provide quite a good level of tension, but does tend to drop again in between these moments. The cast on paper is a solid embarrassment of riches however unfortunately, these characters seem awfully bare-bones, and little is established in terms of backstory or development for any of the supporting cast to allow us to truly invest in them, especially poor Michael K Williams, whose talent is wasted as he is reduced to sneaking through shadows with groups of refugees looking terrified.
The writing and dialogue are hampered by the aforementioned three-phase cycle where the same lines are simply recycled into something similar each time. Evans’ speeches also seem like they could be pieced together from a random pick of Captain America dialogue, but there are moments of levity and humour that breakup some of the more monotonous moments. There are also a few potential subplots highlighting the history between this group bubbling just beneath the surface, but unfortunately, none of this ever comes to light.
The Red Sea Diving Resort has the gift of a truly gripping real-life story behind it, but it seems a shame that a lot of that intrigue appears to be missing, and instead provides a basic telling of events that is not exactly boring, but won’t exactly have you on the edge of your seat and might leave you none the wiser about what truly happened.