The Dove Take:
While the language will be a dealbreaker for some audiences, discerning audiences will appreciate the courage and motivation of Ari Levinson to rescue innocents from the hands of those who would harm them.
In 1981, a group of Mossad agents uses an abandoned hotel to smuggle Ethiopian Jews out of the Sudan.
What would you do if you knew that you were someone’s only hope of escaping imprisonment, torture, or even death? For a small group of Mossad agents in the 1980s (Mossad is the national intelligence agency of Israel), the answer defied anyone’s reasonable explanation: they would revitalize a long-dead hotel in Sudan, operating by day as a resort and by night as an underground railroad to aid Ethiopian Jews to reach freedom in Israel as they fled Muslim persecution.
In Red Sea Diving Resort, a long-haired Chris Evans stars as Ari Levinson, the agent whose convictions lead him back to Sudan, against the better thinking of his Mossad boss (Ben Kingsley). The actor, best known for his roles as Captain America and Johnny Storm, takes a different turn here, headlining a story of compelling real-world events.
Director Gideon Raff, who also wrote the story as a screenplay, pushes the right buttons by mixing humor and action into a story of one man’s religious convictions with the bravery of a community that crossed racial and gender lines. While Levinson is the focus of the story, an Ethiopian named Kebede Bimro (Michael Williams) helps ferry fellow villagers to the hotel, where Levinson’s team (including Haley Bennett and Michael Huisman) connects them with Israeli Navy Seals to bring them to boats taking them to Israel.
While the narrative takes some time to reach a boiling point as Levinson’s team operates mostly in plain sight without issue, the film ratchets up the intensity when the Sudanese government, thanks to Colonel Abdel Ahmed (Chris Chalk), catches up with them. Here, it becomes incredibly apparent that Levinson’s conviction is tied into the biblical narrative he shares with his daughter, that King Solomon passed his faith on to the Queen of Sheba (I Kings 10), and a different group of Jews grew. Levinson’s conviction—and the subsequent courage his team showed—proves to be a reminder of the way that people of faith are called to defend the weak and fight for the powerless.