“6 Days,” directed by Toa Fraser and starring Jamie Bell, Abbie Cornish and Mark Strong is a historical film, outlining the events of the Iranian Embassy Siege in London in 1980. The British Special Air Service (SAS) conducted an overwhelmingly successful hostage rescue operation called Operation Nimrod, a 17 minute mission that wound up rescuing all but one of the hostages, and killing five out of six terrorists. It would become a hallmark of SAS proficiency and tactical skill.

The film received mixed reviews — it is, first and foremost, a historical piece. And like real life, there is no singular main character (though the story slightly favors Rusty Firmin, the SAS operative played by Jamie Bell). It would be disingenuous to presume that such a complex, tactical operation like that solely rested in the hands of one secret agent or Rambo character. The successes and failures in combat largely rest on the shoulders of multiple people, all working together to achieve an objective, and that was illustrated in this film.

The thing that struck me was the portrayal of combat and everything that surrounds it. I am not sure how accurate it was, movement by movement in comparison with the real operation, but it struck me with a sense of realism and brought back some of my own memories. I was never involved in a hostage rescue operation, or even a mission similar to this at all, but there were some fundamental elements that brought me back.

Of all the people who were voluntarily there (so, excluding hostages), the terrorists and the SAS were the only ones that chose to put their skin in the game. Everyone else definitely had some investment: the negotiator was personally invested in talking down the man on the other end of the phone, the reporters even shouldered some level of risk, though the police were in front of them, and the families back home were no doubt terrified for the fates of their loved ones who were hostages. But the image of Rusty Firmin in that hallway after getting stood down, seconds before they were supposed to make entry, made me realize just how different it is to be physically involved in that sort of thing. We are, for all our civilization, philosophies and moralities, physical beings in the end.