"Set in the aftermath of the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, story follows a secret Israeli squad assigned to track down and kill the 11 Palestinians suspected to have planned the Munich attack--and the personal toll this mission of revenge takes on the team and the man who led it. " http://movies.yahoo.com
NOTE: This Spoiler was sent in by EdgeCrusher who calls it... "A long but well-done movie, which is unfortunately reviewed with too many political agendas. Those who know about the details of the Munich Massacre will probably appreciate the flashbacks more. Information about the event can easily be found here or any Internet search"
The film begins by showing members of Black September trying to jump the fence of the Olympic Village (Munich, 1972). A group of American athletes, sneaking in past curfew, assume they are athletes in the same situation. They help them over the fence and go their separate ways. The terrorists change out of their jump suits, say a quick prayer together, and get ready. They start to open the door of the Israeli room. One of the athletes tries to stop them. The other athletes wake up and try to help, but Black September breaks in. In the initial chaos, a couple of athletes escape. One is in the midst of escaping, but instead goes back and attacks the terrorists. He wounds one, but is shot to death by the others. Two athletes are killed in their room. Nine are taken hostage.
In the next few scenes, Spielberg recreates some of the news coverage, while inserting real footage of the media circus. The first rescue attempt is called off, since news coverage spoiled the plans by showing them on TV. The hostages and terrorists are transported to an airport. We see an explosion, and then more news coverage. The initial news is overly optimistic. They claim all the hostages are fine, and the terrorists are dead. Many at home cry from happiness. Moments later, broadcaster Jim McKay informs us in his infamous words:
"Our worst fears have been realized tonight. They've now said that there were 11 hostages; 2 were killed in their rooms yesterday morning, 9 were killed at the airport tonight. They're all gone."
We see Avner (Eric Bana) watching the coverage with his pregnant wife, Daphna. He is a simple Israeli worker for the Mossad. He is called in by some high ranking officials, including Prime Minister Golda Meir (Lynn Cohen). Before he arrives, Meir discusses the situation with some generals. Because of the lackluster response of the world towards the terrorists, she agrees to set up an assasination squad. The squad will go after sympthizers and connections to the Munich Massacre.
Avner meets with an official named Ephraim (Geoffrey Rush) and told of the mission. Avner is the leader of the group, since he is not a high ranking official and doesn't come off with a strong Jewish presence. In order to conduct the operation in the most covert fashion, Avner is officially release by the Mossad and "works for no one". He is simply given a list of names in Western Europe. He is to assasinate the names, and receive funding from a security box, which will be covertly filled by Israel. He works with four other members:
Steve, the South African getaway driver (Daniel Craig) Hans, the German Jew document forger (Hanns Zischler) Robert, a Belgian bomb expert (Mathieu Kassovitz) Carl, the "worrier" who cleans up after the others (Ciarán Hinds)
Avner makes contact with a man named Louis. He sells information of people's whereabouts but makes it a rule never to work for organizations. Avner claims he is not working with anyone. Throughout the movie, Ephraim will harass Avner about where he is getting his information. To gain Louis' trust, he won't say. Ephraim threatens a court-martial, but Avner reminds him he can't, since he "works for no one".
The crew goes after their first target. It is a bit messy, but they corner him after buying groceries. Avner asks if he knows why they're there. The man tries to slowly reason with him without answering the question. Avner fires and runs back to the car. They celebrate their first mission with wine and prepare for their next target.
Their next target lives with his wife and daughter. The crew decides to use Robert to infiltrate as a reporter, who checks out the place. Later on, when no one is home, they break in and replace his phone with an exact model (with a bomb inside). The next day, they wait for the wife and daughter to leave, so they can place the call. When they hear the target answer the phone, Robert will detonate the bomb. However, they fail to see the daughter go back towards the apartment (she forgot something). Carl calls, but the daughter answers instead. He hangs up and waves down Robert. They abort just in time. The girl once again leaves the apartment, and the crew calls again. The target answers, and the bomb detonates.
The crew goes to a hotel, where their next target is. The have placed a bomb underneath the mattress. To make sure he actually uses the bed, Avner stays in the next room, while the rest of the crew is parked beneath the building. Avner and the target end up engaging a conversation in the adjacent balconies (Avner of course does not blow his cover). The target goes to his room to sleep. When Avner turns off his light (the ready signal), Robert detonates the bomb. However, the bomb was stronger than they expected, and Avner is almost killed, along with a honeymooning couple nearby.
Avner goes back to Israel in order to be with his wife. She gives birth and they spend a little time together. He has to leave almost immediately, but not before seeing his mother. Although he won't tell his family what he is doing, his mother can sense it. She tells him she is proud of him.
Louis brings Avner to see his family, who runs the "business". The Papa talks to Avner. He senses what he is up to (Avner never tells), but because of the massacre, does not enforce his rule to never find information for an organization.
During their assassinations, they learn that Muslim extremists are getting revenge for the killings. This only further motivates the crew (they even seek names that are not on the list). They convince Ephraim to let them go to Beirut, in order to take part of an official mission. Throughout the missions, there are gunfights, but Avner tries his best to limit any collateral damage.
Their next target is staying in another hotel. They go to a safe house only to run into the PLO. The PLO doesn't know who they are, and the crew lies, saying they are from various countries and even share the room with them. The leader of the PLO group actually has a conversation with Avner, not realizing who he is. They discuss the conflict of the Middle East while having a smoke. The PLO is trying to protect the target.
Later on during the stakeout, the bomb meant to kill the target does not go off. Hans decides to go into the hotel himself and throw a grenade. He does so, and kills the target. Chaos commences, and the PLO group realizes what's going on. However, the crew takes care of almost all of them in the ensuing gunfire, before escaping unharmed.
Avner telephones home. He misses his family and is starting to become affected by all the violence. His baby says "dada" to the phone, and Avner starts to break down. He tells his baby to not forget his voice. He goes downstairs to a bar and sees a beautiful woman. She is obviously a prostitute and entices him with her perfume. Avner is strongly tempted, but stays faithful. While leaving the bar, he sees Carl entering. He playfully tells him to watch out for the woman at the bar. Eventually Avner goes back to his room. He can smell the perfume and realizes it is coming from Carl's room. He listens to the room, but hears nothing. He becomes worries and taps on the door. The room was unlocked, and he finds Carl dead inside. Avner breaks down.
The crew starts to realize that they are now being targeted. They figure if they can take out a man named Ali Hassan Salameh, Israel will let them come home. First however, they ask Louis about the prostitute. They receive her information and go after her. However, Louis validates their suspicions beforehand by telling Avner that people have started to inquire about him. They also learn rumors the United States (CIA) has been giving money to some terrorists groups in order to ensure their own domestic protection. Robert needs a break from all the bloodshed. He says that as a Jew, he has always felt righteous, but he cannot feel that way while doing this. Avner says he will contact him later.
Avner and his crew go to a houseboat and corner the woman. She knows why they are going after her and goes for her gun. However, with some covert weapons, they get to her first, shooting her in the chest and throat. She starts to die slowly before they finish her off with a shot to the head.
They find out where Ali Hassan Salameh will be and see him walking with bodyguards. They strategize their positions and are about to make their move. However, a split second before Avner shoots, a drunk American mistakens him as someone. The crew and the Americans scuffle a bit. When it ends, Ali Hassan Salameh is gone. The crew believes the drunk Americans were really the CIA, protecting Ali Hassan Salameh.
While doing some work with bombs in his own home, Robert's home (with him inside) explodes. It is explained as an accident, but because of all the tension, one can't help but have suspicions. Avner and his remaining crew become even more paranoid. Avner checks his mattress, phone and TV for bombs. He even sleeps in his own closet. One morning, Steve awakes Avner. He says he cannot find Hans. Eventually they find him sitting on a park bench. He has been killed as well.
Avner and Steve go to Ali Hassan Salameh's house in camouflage. Before they can kill him by sharpshooter, a novice bodyguard catches them. They kill the young man (alerting the other guards) and run away, failing to kill Salameh.
The two are allowed to end their mission anyway. Avner goes to his new home in Brooklyn. However, he continues to be paranoid for himself and his family. Avner even becomes suspicious that Israel has sold him out. He goes to the embassy and starts shouting like a madman. He receives a call from Papa, ensuring his safety. Back at home, he makes love to his wife, but is haunted by the visions of the Munich Massacre.
We flashback to the massacre. Two helicopters transport the terrorists and hostages to an airport. They see the plane, and two terrorists go check it out. The plane is empty, and they realize they will not be given safe transportation out. They rush out of the airplane, and the German police start firing. Realizing it is over; one member of Black September sprays one group of hostages with gunfire. He then throws a grenade into the helicopter holding them. Another member sprays gunfire into the helicopter holding the second group of hostages.
Avner awakens from his flashback and lies in bed with his wife. The next morning, he gets a call from Israel. Ephraim is in New York and meets with him. Avner asks for hard evidence that the men he killed were connected to Munich. Ephraim doesn't quite convince him, but reminds him of what he did for his country. He wants Avner to come back home to Israel with his family. Avner refuses, but invites Ephraim for dinner. We can see that because of all the violence, Avner wants nothing more to do with the Israel-Palestine conflict. Ephraim, perhaps feeling Avner is betraying his people, refuses his dinner invitation. The two men walk their separate ways.
And in what could be considered a tribute to the 9/11 victims, victims of terrorism in general, and/or a reminder the violence will spread everywhere, the camera pans up to the Manhattan skyline in the 1970's: with the newly built Twin Towers.
*CUT TO THE CHASE*
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Of the original team, only Steve (Daniel Craig) and Avner (Eric Bana) survive. After failing to kill Ali Hassan, they end their mission and Avner goes to Brooklyn to see his wife and child. Increasingly unstable and haunted by the Munich massacre, (and one assumes, his own guilt) he meets with Ephraim (Geoffrey Rush) and asks for evidence that the men he killed were responsible for Munich. Ephraim says that they were and in either case, that while they were alive Jews would die. He asks Avner to return to Israel, but Avner refuses and they walk off in separate directions.
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