After Black September's assassination of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972, Prime Minister Golda Meir okays a black-box operation to hunt down and kill all involved. A team of five gathers in Switzerland led by Avner, a low-level Mossad techie whose father was a war hero and whose wife is pregnant. It's an expendable team, but relying on paid informants, they track and kill several in Europe and Lebanon. They must constantly look over their shoulders for the CIA, KGB, PLO, and their own sources. As the body count mounts -- with retribution following retribution -- so do questions, doubts, and sleepless nights. Loyalties blur. What does it mean to be a Jew? Written by
Avner is referred to as a "sabra" more than once. This is an Israeli term for a native born Jew, as opposed to an immigrant. "Sabra" originally referred to a tough kind of cactus (Opuntia cactus) which grew out in the desert. See more »
Though they took the time to digitally add the World Trade Center to the final shot, they didn't edit out the Citigroup Center, Trump World Tower, and the Bloomberg building, which were built after the time of the movie. See more »
Means even more if you watched the tragedy of Munich 1972
I don't think the "perfect" movie has been made yet. I don't know that a masterpiece is necessarily perfect, so, viewers will undoubtedly find faults in this movie, some of which have already been expressed in the comment section. But masterpiece or not, I really liked this movie. It told a particular side of the story and told it well. And if you witnessed any of the tragedy of Munich in the summer of 1972, you feel a connection to the events portrayed in this movie. We, the audience, become a member of the hit squad able to empathize with the angst in becoming assassins with consciences, as collateral damage does matter. But the trouble with trying to maintain a conscience is that each notch on the belt is another slash of your humanity ripped from your soul. You squirm from living in the uncertainty of trusting people you are suspicious of in order to fulfill your mission. You nervously plan the pathway to the next target. You seethe with the frenzy of the kill. You perpetually twitch in the paranoia of becoming the hunted, "sleeping" with one eye open and a finger on the trigger. In the beginning you are swept away by your sense of duty to God and country above all else. In the end you are cynical, angry and afraid about what you have done and what you have become.
There are many other sides of this story. It is left to other movies or media to tell those versions. I won't take this one as a definitive history lesson on the subject. Instead I'll take it as a captivating tale of a struggle of life and death played on a complex stage of geopolitics.
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