Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”
If prizes were given out for good intentions, Spielberg's latest might deserve Best Picture. While carefully avoiding partisanship for either side, he shows the origins of the modern era of middle-eastern conflict, that eternal circle of eye for an eye for an eye, and in doing so suggests that simple revenge is no kind of policy for a nation attacked. It's a lesson still relevant decades later, and Spielberg applies his usual technical brilliance and richness of detail to make it seem fresh, but isn't this movie just a little too smart to score such a simple point? Given the pedigree, I expected a plunge into the depths of human regret over violence wrongfully inflicted and the psychological effects of being an assassin, but the analysis stayed on the surface and the story moved on to increasingly unrealistic turns, such as when the hero empathizes with the slain Olympic athletes on an individual level that has nothing to do with him, his work, or the movie. Something more and deeper and better could have come of this. Perhaps good ambition doesn't go hand in hand with good intention?