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Running Time:
2 hours, 47 minutes

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for strong graphic violence, some sexual content, nudity and language

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
Steven Spielberg's historical drama is not quite exciting enough to be called a thriller, although it's always fascinating, thought-provoking and intelligent. Still, it's at least 20 minutes too long.

Additional Info:
Limited Collector's Edition DVD: comes with a photo book in a box. Disc 1: Wide screen version, introduced by Steven Spielberg. Disc 2: Six featurettes including "The Mission, The Team," "Memories of the Event," "Portrait of an Era," "The On-Set Experience," "The International Cast," and "Editing, Sound, and Music."

Three-time Academy AwardŽ-winning director-producer Steven Spielberg's film begins at the 1972 Munich Olympics using period TV footage mixed with recreated scenes of the hostage-taking and massacre of 11 Israeli athletes. Back in Israel, Mossad agent Avner Kauffman (Eric Bana "Hulk") is asked by Golda Meir (Lynn Cohen "The Station Agent"), for whom he's been a personal bodyguard, to lead an anti-terrorist team to track down the Black September assassins one by one and eliminate them in a demonstration of Israel's strength and justice.

Avner is forced to leave his pregnant wife for an unspecified time but also to do it completely off the radar, unknown, unattached, and uninsured. He'll have access to all the money he'll need, which will be provided in a safe deposit box and he'll be monitored by his case officer Ephraim (Geoffrey Rush "Quills"). In Europe he meets his team of four operatives, each of whom has a specialty: Steve (Daniel Craig "Layer Cake" and the new James Bond) is a tough and ready South African hit man; Hans (Hanns Zischler), is relatively quiet German-Jewish antique dealer, but an expert document forger; Robert (Mathieu Kassovitz "Birthday Girl") is a toymaker and less than inspiring bomb maker; and Carl (Ciaran Hinds "The Phantom of the Opera") is their professorial, dapper, cleanup man.

Avner finds an expensive but highly efficient informant (Mathieu Amalric), who with his father (the charming Michael Lonsdale "Jefferson in Paris") is able to provide current locations for each name on his list, for a price. Avner begins learning where to find his targets and the team is soon travelling around the globe, from Paris to Geneva and on to Beirut, Athens, London and New York.

Some executions go smoothly as planned, some are complicated by unforeseen factors. Eventually the Palestinians realize what's under way and Avner and his men find that they have become targets. But despite all that, the dramatic tension never achieves the urgency or full thriller potential of a "Three Days of the Condor" due to a rather pedestrian script by Pulitzer prize-winning writer Tony Kushner ("Angels in America") and Eric Roth ("Forrest Gump").

Heading the cast, Eric Bana creates a portrait of a powerful but agonized and confused wartime soldier amidst all the violence and bloodshed. His imposing frame slowly contorting into a hunch, and his eyes, once hidden behind sunglasses, become circled with dark rings, as he becomes more and more shaken by moral ambiguities.

This is a visually stunning, thought-provoking, highly charged political drama that deals with the historical ramifications of terrorism and the arguments for retaliation, but when it's all over you may wish that it had been at least twenty minutes shorter.

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