The Red Sea Diving Resort

The Red Sea Diving Resort (also known as Operation Brothers)[1] is a 2019 spy thriller film written and directed by Gideon Raff. The film stars Chris Evans as an Israeli Mossad agent who runs a covert operation that helps Ethiopian-Jewish refugees escape to safe haven in Israel. Michael Kenneth Williams, Haley Bennett, Alessandro Nivola, Michiel Huisman, Chris Chalk, Greg Kinnear, and Ben Kingsley are in supporting roles.

The Red Sea Diving Resort
The Red Sea Diving Resort.jpeg
Promotional poster
Directed byGideon Raff
Produced by
  • Aaron L. Gilbert
  • Alexandra Milchan
  • Gideon Raff
Written byGideon Raff
Music byMychael Danna
CinematographyRoberto Schaefer
Edited byTim Squyres
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • July 28, 2019 (2019-07-28) (SFJFF)
  • July 31, 2019 (2019-07-31) (United States)
Running time
130 minutes
  • Canada
  • United States

The film is loosely based on the events of Operation Moses and Operation Joshua in 1984-1985, in which the Mossad covertly evacuated Jewish Ethiopian refugees to Israel using a base at the once-abandoned holiday resort of Arous Village on the Red Sea coast of Sudan.

The Red Sea Diving Resort premiered at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival on July 28, 2019, and was released on July 31, 2019, by Netflix. Critical reaction to the film was predominantly negative, while audiences were far more positive.


Kebede Bimro, an Ethiopian Jew, works with the Israeli Mossad agent Ari Levinson to evacuate Jewish-Ethiopian refugees to Israel. Ari realizes that his ability to operate in Ethiopia would be improved if he had a cover activity that would give him a reason for having a building and vehicles. He proposes to Israeli intelligence officer Ethan Levin a plan that would allow him to evacuate significantly more refugees: rent the Red Sea Diving Resort, an abandoned Sudanese coastal hotel, and run it as a front to facilitate moving refugees out of the country. The unorthodox plan is reluctantly approved, and Ari recruits his former Mossad colleagues Rachel Reiter, Jake Wolf, Max Rose, and Sammy Navon, to assist him.

Shortly after the team's arrival in the Islamic country of Sudan, the brochures they had printed inspire actual tourists to begin arriving at the resort. Although hosting guests was not originally part of the plan, Levinson realizes the tourists will provide cover for the team's operations, so the team runs the resort as a legitimate business while simultaneously evacuating refugees to a waiting Israeli ship off the coast. The plan is initially successful, and multiple extraction operations are carried out, but the Sudanese Colonel Abdel Ahmed learns of Bimro after interrogating and then killing a group of refugees. Ahmed visits the resort to investigate but does not discover the refugee operation.

One night, Ari and Sammy are arrested after an evacuation mission narrowly escapes from Sudanese soldiers. They are released and return to the resort to find Levin awaiting them; he tells the group the mission has been compromised and that it is canceled.

Ahmed again visits the resort, and Rachel is forced to kill one of his men after the soldier discovers a group of refugees hiding there. To evacuate them, Ari decides to perform a final refugee extraction by cargo plane with assistance from Walton Bowen, a CIA officer. Ari and his team transport the refugees to an abandoned British airfield. The team and Bimro narrowly escape Ahmed and extract themselves and the refugees.



The Red Sea Diving Resort is loosely based on the events of Operation Moses and Operation Joshua (jointly referred to as Operation Brothers), in which Ethiopian Jews were covertly moved from refugee camps in Sudan to Israel during the 1980s. The actual abandoned resort, the Arous Holiday Village on the Red Sea, was located roughly 70 kilometers from Port Sudan and was managed by Mossad operatives until 1985. The existence of these operations was first revealed in Gad Shimron’s 1998 book Mossad Exodus: The Daring Undercover Rescue of the Lost Jewish Tribe,[2] though the film is not associated with the book.[3]

In August 2015, Fox Searchlight purchased the rights for the film.[4] Development on the film was first announced in March 2017, with Gideon Raff directing and writing the screenplay, and Chris Evans and Haley Bennett cast.[5][6] In April, Michael K. Williams joined the project.[7] In May, Greg Kinnear, Alessandro Nivola, and Ben Kingsley were added to the cast, with a filming start date of June 22, 2017, established. Chris Chalk was cast on June 15.[8] Shooting took place at the Cape Town Film Studios in South Africa and Namibia.[9][10]


In February 2019, Netflix acquired distribution rights to the film.[11] It had its world premiere at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival on July 28, 2019.[12] It was released on July 31, 2019.[13]


On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 30% based on 40 reviews, with a weighted average of 4.68/10. However the public reviews gave it 80%. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Red Sea Diving Resort makes uninspired use of actual events, using thinly written characters to tell a story derailed by its own good intentions."[14] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 29 out of 100, based on reviews from 7 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews", while users gave it 6.5/10.[15]


  1. ^ "The Red Sea Diving Resort". IMDb. Retrieved April 12, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Shimron, Gad (2007). Mossad Exodus: The Daring Undercover Rescue of the Lost Jewish Tribe. ISBN 9789652294036.
  3. ^ "The True Story Behind Netflix's The Red Sea Diving Resort". Time. Retrieved April 12, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Dolsten, Josefin. "'Homeland' creator to direct movie on rescue of Ethiopian Jews". The Times of Israel.
  5. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (March 20, 2017). "Chris Evans To Star In 'Red Sea Diving Resort'". Deadline Hollywood.
  6. ^ Kroll, Justin (March 20, 2017). "'Girl on the Train' Actress Haley Bennett in Talks to Star in 'Red Sea Diving Resort' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
  7. ^ Kroll, Justin (April 25, 2017). "Michael K. Williams Joins Chris Evans in True-Life Drama 'Red Sea Diving Resort' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
  8. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (June 12, 2017). "'Gotham's Chris Chalk Packs For 'The Red Sea Diving Resort'". Deadline Hollywood.
  9. ^ Kit, Borys (May 10, 2017). "Greg Kinnear, Alessandro Nivola, Alex Hassell Join Mossad Spy Drama (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  10. ^ "Productions Hosted" (PDF). Cape Town Film Studios. 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  11. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (February 15, 2019). "Netflix Lands Global Rights To 'The Red Sea Diving Resort' Starring Chris Evans". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 15, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "The Red Sea Diving Resort". San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Retrieved July 7, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Trumbore, David (June 19, 2019). "Here's What's Coming to Netflix in July 2019". Collider. Retrieved June 19, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  15. ^ "The Red Sea Diving Resort Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 1, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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