New Zealand filmmaker Toa Frazer offers audiences a tense and thrilling experience with 6 Days, which chronicles the savage 1980 Iranian Embassy Siege and which will leave audiences on the edge of their seats.
30 April 1980. Six-armed terrorists storm the Iranian Embassy in London taking twenty-six people hostage. This sets the stage for a monumental showdown between Margaret Thatcher’s government and the terrorists that end’s up taking the world by storm.
6 Days makes for one very intense watch. Frazer does not mess around and throws his audience headfirst into a very tense situation. As the narrative moves forward its a ticking time bomb of when the pin is going to drop. While I knew the history of what occurred, seeing it in front of me was something else entirely.
Frazer frames his story from three unique points of view, The Army, The Police and The Media, which are presented through the eyes of three very different principle characters SAS platoon leader Rusty Firman (Jamie Bell), BBC reporter Kate Adie (Abbie Cornish) and Scotland Yard DI Max Vernon (Mark Strong). This unique narrative composition makes for an interesting and twisting story which each characters unique story element feeding into each of the other characters narratives. This framing device means that you never know what’s going to happen next and serves to build the overarching tension to a razor’s edge.
I have to praise Jamie Bell in this film. He makes a full transformation into tough guy territory as the motivated and focused SAS platoon commander Rusty Firman. Rusty is a man with something to prove and after being given command of the operation to rescue the hostages undertakes a fanatical training regime to prep his squad to successfully execute Operation Nimrod. Bell absolutely nails his characters aggressive focus, and he’s damn well the right man to get the job done. There’s no mucking around for Bell, and when it’s time to kick down some doors he charges in gun drawn.
I’ve long been a fan of Australian actress Abbie Cornish and she cut an impressive figure as true life reporter Kate Adie. Cornish’s Adie is a rookie beat reporter who stumbles upon the story of a lifetime and where other reporters are more interested in the high drama of the unfolding events, Adie instead works to present the facts.
Finally, British thespian Mark Strong rounds out the cast as DI Max Vernon. Vernon is the go-to hostage negotiator for the film and is definitely the calm in the middle of the storm. While the SAS might be the cool guys of 6 Days, it’s Vernon who’s the true hero. His patience and ability to draw out calm on behalf of the hostage-takers have a profound effect on the course of the film’s narrative. While the SAS are all too happy to go in guns blazing, Vernon’s humanity and desire to see all involved in the situation get out alive makes him the film’s most admirable character. This is again a tribute to the brilliance of Mark Strong who always impresses up on screen.
The film’s climatic siege gets your heart pumping, and Frazer gets everything right thanks to a good eye for period correct detail and a focus on presenting the true history of this famed event. While the film is, of course, an entertaining watch, Frazer keeps things correct and in my own opinion, the film is far more entertaining because of it.
6 Days is a great historical thriller and captures the energy and intensity of one of modern history’s most sensational events. But be warned it will definitely have you on the edge of your seat the entire time that you’re in the theatre.
Image: EOne Films.