‘The Assault,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


A film with both documentary urgency and an overwrought sense of melodrama, “The Assault” is a dramatization of a real-life airline hijacking from 1994.

The actual events occurred in Algiers, when hijackers, demanding the release of Algerian prisoners in France, grabbed an airplane in Algiers and demanded that it be flown to Paris (where the terrorists planned to fly it into the Eiffel Tower). I won’t tell the outcome though, naturally, it can be found in Wikipedia (search: Air France Flight 8969).

The film focuses on the preparations of the hijackers and the response of government officials (most of whom are more caught up in the international politics than in the tactical necessities of actually taking down the hijackers). In that sense, filmmaker Julien Leclercq keeps things spare and urgent, letting the details and the behavior of people – both those interested only in covering their own asses and those with a commitment to foiling the hijacking – speak for themselves.

This review continues on my website.