Artykuł pochodzi z pisma "Guardian"
Friday January 27, 2006
When I first saw the title, my immediate thought was: "Who's playing Neville Chamberlain?" Of course, Steven Spielberg's film is actually about the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972 - but this is one of those coincidences that somehow isn't a coincidence. There are queasy resonances locked in that city's name, between the appeasement of the Nazis and Israel's angry determination not to give an inch to its would-be destroyers.
Seven years ago, British documentary maker Kevin Macdonald made his film, One Day in September, about the Palestinian terrorists killing Israeli Olympic athletes, showing how by sensationally allowing the Games to continue while the drama unfolded - both on live TV - the IOC laid down a template for Europe's postwar ability to tolerate the co-existence of terrorist danger and normal life. Spielberg's mission is quite different. He tells the avowedly fictionalised story ("inspired by true events") of what happened after: how Israel set up a hit squad, operating secretly in Europe, to assassinate everyone who planned or executed the Munich massacre.
And what a curious film it is, as if Amos Oz tried to write a Frederick Forsyth thriller: a mixture of heroic derring-do, tough-guy amorality and liberal angst, culminating in a tortured attempt to dramatise some sort of mental middle-ground in the Middle East: ideological territory from which extremists from both sides will have to be bulldozered out. But this is a middle ground which, as it turns out, exists adjacent to the contentious skyline of downtown Manhattan - of which, more in a moment.
Eric Bana plays the team-leader Avner, a young Mossad officer appointed by prime minister Golda Meir. Under his command are Steve (Daniel Craig), a fiery blond South African, German-Jewish forger Hans (Hanns Zischler), a Belgian toymaker-turned-explosives-engineer called Robert (Mathieu Kassovitz) and Carl (Ciarán Hinds) a planner and details man. This Spielbergian band of brothers have a distinctly second-world-war look about them, like the French Resistance or the conspirators planning the Great Escape. But their 1940s-style heroism has had its certainty about the Bad Guys removed and in its place is the furniture of the cynical 1970s spy-thriller: 11 Arabs to be killed, 11 Days of the Jackal, a world of ponderous old Mercedes and Renaults, bombs in dialler telephones, and a honeytrap babe in an intercontinental hotel bar. Spielberg even imitates the movie mannerisms of the period, with long grainy crane-shots of outdoor cafes, and slow zooms to the murmuring conspirators.
And then there is the third structural level superimposed retrospectively on Spielberg's adventure: contemporary self-doubt. Avner exists to incarnate not the righteous avenger, but the righteous questioner, the Jewish man of action who comes to doubt the moral worth (or even the effectiveness) of what he is doing. Are they no better than their foes? But Avner never actually refuses an order, and his arguments with his comrades - and even one exchange with an Arab terrorist who wrongly believes him to be a German Baader-Meinhof activist - are pretty perfunctory and shallow. The action sequences are great, especially one showing an entire floor of a hotel breathtakingly reduced to rubble. But the ideas? The debate? It could accompany a front-page graphic on USA Today. Most questionably, the movie attempts to insulate Avner's men from the mucky business of doing business with ideologues and political agencies by having them get all their information from an apolitical French mafia capo: a deeply unlikely invention which is frankly an insult to the intelligence. And as for Eric Bana, that former standup comic who made such a cracking debut as the psychotic convict in Chopper - what a bore he is now, only playing blandly handsome leading men.
The movie is all about the homeland of Israel-Palestine, but there's no doubt where its emotional homeland is: and that is the United States. Spielberg locates a key moment in 1970s New York City, where his camera seems to linger on almost every Manhattan landmark except the one we expect and fear to see the most. When that finally appears, the effect is actually not contrived, as some critics have suggested, but moving in its simplicity. This is the lesson we should have learned after 1972, Spielberg appears to be saying: that hacking off the snake's head is strategically absurd, politically counter-productive, ethically illiterate. It is a decent lesson and one worth trying to teach. But it is swathed in a very middlebrow and self-importantly long thriller.
adjacent- ościenny, sąsiedni, sąsiadujący
angst- lęk, niepokój
appeasement- uspokojenie; polityka ustępstw; zaspokojenie
contentious- sporny, kontrowersyjny
contrived- wymuszony, wydumany, sztuczny
distinctly- jasno, wyraźnie
grainy- ziarnisty ( w fotografii)
hack off- odrąbać
linger on- utrzymywać się
mucky- zabłocony, utytłany; świński
perfunctory- pobieżny, powierzchowny
ponderous- poważny, ciężki, ociężały
queasy- przyprawiający o mdłości
swathe- owijać, spowijać
template- wzornik, szablon, matryca
unfold- rozwijać, ujawniać, odsłaniać