starring Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Ciaran Hinds, Mathieu Kassovitz, Hanns Zischler, Ayelet
Zurer, Michael Lonsdale, Mathieu Amalric, Lynn Cohen and Geoffrey Rush
screenplay by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth
directed by Steven Spielberg
Based on the 1984 book Vengeance by George Jonas, this is a dramatic telling not of the murder of nine Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games of 1972 by Palestinian terrorists, but of the covert Israeli reaction to that act of terrorism. It is a story of the covert mechanics of assassination and presents us with some tough questions about human motivations, behavior and reactions.
Eric Bana doesn’t display the rock hard, ice cold certainty that one expects from a Hollywood soldier, government assassin, and patriot. His character is wracked with the uncertainties of the morality of his course of action. Daniel Craig’s character is more the impetuous, violent guy who wants to get the job done and move on to the next. But Bana’s character is married, with a newborn daughter. Children are about the future, while vengeance is about the past, hence the stage is set for his moral dilemma.
He comes through, though, and the portrayal of assassination at fairly close range can be disturbing: to see how people die, how bullets penetrate their bodies, how some die instantly while others have time to sit down, knowing they are already dead. Oh, the humanity!
I love Geoffrey Rush. In my imagination he has come to fill the role of a British Jack Lemon - a kind of dorky, hen-pecked, homely, confused, over-worked, disheveled, emotional, uncertain middle class Everyman; the sort of character in which many men think they can see themselves, or parts of themselves.
Although I was only ten years old at the time, I remember the tragedy that happened at the Munich Olympics from television. The same year saw the first USSR-Canada ice hockey tournament, in which Canadian Paul Hendersonscored a final-second winning goal to enable Canadian newspapers to boast, “Team Canada - Hockey Heroes of the World!” And so I remember those Olympics in like fashion. The very next summer Olympic Games were held in Montreal, Canada, in 1976 - a questionable present to the city from former mayor Jean Drapeau - and the security fashioned by the Canadian Armed Forces was the tightest that had been seen at an Olympic Games up until that time. 15-year-old Nadia Cominici from Bulgaria wowed us with her body - I mean, her stuff.