Who's in It:
Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush, Daniel Craig
The Basics: At the 1972 Olympics, Palestinian terrorists take Israeli athletes hostage and murder them. Afterward, an unofficial campaign of revenge takes place, as secret assassination squads hunt the men responsible. And then, after catching all the bad guys, Eric Bana and his pals take off into the air on their bikes. That last sentence = kidding.
What's the Deal? It's 164 minutes long, officially. That's two hours and 30 minutes of well-constructed, if repetitive, terrorist-hunting, and then 14 final minutes — no spoilers here — of ham-fisted catharsis and misguided 9/11 exploitation. What is Spielberg's problem that he can't trust his audience to get it without resorting to the big, dumb, obvious gesture? It doesn't make him populist. It makes him unreliable.
The Odd Couple: The screenplay is by lefty smart guy Tony Kushner (Angels in America) and Eric Roth, who was responsible for the annoying Forest Gump. Yeah, that's right. I said "annoying."
What's Good About This: Eric Bana as the assassin with the tormented soul, Ayelet Zorer as his no-nonsense wife, Michael Lonsdale as a shadowy figure known as "Papa" and Janusz Kaminski's washed-out, looks-like-it-was-actually-made-in-1973 cinematography.
A Pointless True Story About Academy AwardWinning Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski: I stood in line at the supermarket behind him and his former wife Holly Hunter one day. They were reading The Star together.
OK, Back to Talking About the Movie: It's already brewing up stupid accusations of political posturing from both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian camps, when in reality, it's just about the human situation on both sides of their endless war. These are people who didn't get around to seeing this year's Paradise Now, which was all about the lives of two regular-Joe Muslims recruited for a suicide-bombing.