02nd Aug2019

‘The Red Sea Diving Resort’ Review (Netflix)

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Chris Evans, Alessandro Nivola, Mbulelo Grootboom, Sizo Mahlangu, Michael Kenneth Williams, Masasa Mbangeni, Setlhabi Jacob Taunyane, Ditebogo Ledwaba, Motsi Tekateka, Yossi Vasa, Greg Kinnear | Written and Directed by Gideon Raff


The Red Sea Diving Resort, directed by Gideon Raff, is the latest feature from streaming service Netflix with little to no fanfare and often arrives dead on arrival. It stars Chris Evans as Ari Levinson, an undercover Israeli operative who smuggles displaced refugees and with a team gets them to safety. On paper, The Red Sea Diving Resort is a mixture between Blood Diamond and Entebbe. The two comparable films run incredibly similar sequences of suspense and narrative threads, albeit far better executed than this sub-par Chris Evans vehicle.

Gideon Raff’s film is not lousy per se; best described merely as weak. The narrative by Raff – who also writes as well as directs this feature – has an exciting tale to tell. Raff’s screenplay is allegedly based off real Israeli exploits rescuing Ethiopian Jewish refugees in Sudan during the late 70s. The narrative brings an incredibly rich and captivating story to proceedings. The feature has a great deal of tension, weight, and emotional layers present that the film sadly fails to lift off the ground. It is quite tricky to asses where the film goes wrong. If anything, it chooses its focus on the wrong threads. Choosing to flesh out the relationships and dynamics of the group in an underwhelming fashion and not exploring the turmoil of religious prejudice and political underbelly that has swarmed and consumed Sudan.

Choosing to explore the small group dynamics is all well and good, but The Red Sea Diving Resort then has to craft a compelling set of characters for the film to bond and engage within the feature, of which the choice of following the refugees being the clear emotional pull and therefore the focus. The characters brought to life are all utterly bland and expendable. Viewers will not even remember the characters names in a matter of moments after they are introduced. Crafted as simplistic one-note characters with no life and intrigue the viewer is left to follow their exploits for the ridiculous overly bloated one hundred and thirty-minute running time.

With how bland and badly orchestrated the characters are everything on the screen becomes a chore to watch. Billed as multiple death-defying and life-threatening sequences the film astonishingly has no moments of tension or atmosphere to explore due to it being shot in such a flat matter of fact by cinematographer Roberto Schaefer who fails to install a life or energy into the image. The feature also has some tone-deaf moments of humour involved and an 80s soundtrack that does not fit, the tone struggles to decide what it wants to evoke and with that indecision it carries through from the writer to the performances, and eventually the edit. Before long, the indecision ultimately consumes the picture.

The Red Sea Diving Resort is available to stream on Netflix now.

4 Responses to “‘The Red Sea Diving Resort’ Review (Netflix)”

  • Peg Vorwerk

    we were thoroughly entertained by this movie! It appears most folks would agree.

  • E. Steren

    The Red Sea Diving Resort portrays true life events when the Israeli Mossad developed an operation in an enemy country for the sole reason of rescuing thousands of Ethiopian Jews who were being persecuted due to religious hatred and were dying of starvation due to drought. They were second class citizens. These Ethiopian Jews went through untold agony to reach the Mossad agents in order to be rescued. Without the dedicated, brave Mossad agents this story would have never happened. Without the Israeli government ordering the Mossad and committing millions into this operation, it would have never happened. Credit is due to all those involved. Respect.

  • E. Steren

    A must see movie.

  • Sem van Blerk

    A great movie with a lot of layers of emotion in it. We were sitting on the edge of our couch because of the ongoing tension in the things happening in the movie. Even though I knew from the true historical facts that it all would end up well. The critic of the so called professional critics is really annoying. It’s a movie, not a documentary!
    I rate this movie 5 out of 5.