Marking the latest release from Netflix original productions, The Red Sea Diving Resort gives viewers a rare insight into the issues present in the late 1970’s in Ethiopia. In this regard, it should certainly succeed for most viewers, but it’s ultimately hollow and often collapses under its own weight. With a cast as boasting as this, it seemed that Netflix wanted to “spare no expense,” but with a drab and flat paint job that taints both the imagery and plot, it’s hard seeing how this project was actually financed. That certainly doesn’t mean that the film isn’t without its well-deserved merits, of which there are a handful. Chris Evans, branching out from his role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe still succeeds in maintain his classically macho and heroic role in cinema. It’s nothing new for him, but it’s an inkling of the decisive future the actor has following Avengers: Endgame. On the other hand, well-respected talent such as Ben Kingsley receive interesting characters and arcs, unlike anything else their résumés have seen.
Ari Levinson (Chris Evans) depicts any other middle-aged American man, but what is shown as the lengthy and swash-buckling film continues, is his determination and love for Judaism. Starting in 1979, Ari puts together a ragtag team of close friends, all reluctant on joining. The group attains undercover identities, and enter the enemy state that is Sudan. Ari leases the Red Sea Diving Resort as a cover to run refugees out of Africa and to Jerusalem.
At this point, the narrative comes to somewhat of a standstill, with countless of substance-less scenes clogging up and diluting an already mediocre second act. It’s more than tempting to simply switch the film off past the one-hour mark as it never strives to advance the plot to a greater position than it already is in. Still, the film continues to drag on, admittedly at a much smoother pace thanks to a batch of montages that add the flavor the previous acts were so devoid of. These montages reflected the urgency of the situation and showcased some brilliant moments of filmmaking, but their lack is sorely felt, especially since the film frames itself as some kind of heist adventure. Instead, it comes off more as a contemplative and cerebral drama, and in that regard? It falls flat once again.