Prior to the 9/11 attacks in America, few could fathom the existence of plane hijacking suicide bombers. In fact, not many can recall the disturbing 1994 terrorist plot to crash a Parish-bound plane into the Eiffel Tower. The new French film, The Assault captures the harrowing true story of the two day effort to rescue frightened passengers from Islamic terrorists. Unlike most in-flight thrillers, The Assault is an evocative foray into the past. Furthermore, it forces viewers to confront the vicious realities of the extremist malice that emerged less than a decade later.
The film centers on the 227 innocent victims who on Christmas Eve, board a flight from Algiers to Paris. Just before takeoff, members of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) overtake the plane and coerce the frightened passengers, killing several in the process. While most members of the government believe freeing Algerian prisoners will stop the hijackers, the GIGN (the elite counter-terrorism paramilitary unit of the French National Gendarmerie) know differently. They discover that the men will not only die for their organization but they intend on flying the plane straight into one of the world's most notable landmarks.
Directed and co-written by Julien Leclercq, The Assault is unsettling but important to watch. It shows officials taking action and risking their lives to stop terrorism at any cost. Mixed with real footage from the incident, the film not only resonates it allows audiences to contemplate what the world would be like today had the Eiffel Tower actually been blown to destruction in the early 90's.
Compelling, suspenseful, and shocking, The Assault is a cautionary tale for the ages.
The film opened in select cities Friday. For ticket information, visit Fandango.