Sunday, January 01, 2006

Sword of Gideon

The husband and I went to the movies this morning and saw "Sword of Gideon". Or as Spielberg is calling it these days, Munich. It was fine. Nothing particularly memorable (other than the fact that it was our very first time being at the movies at 10 a.m.; the kids had slept at my parents'). Not like Schindler's List, which the husband and I saw exactly 12 years ago this month on our first day back from our Honeymoon in Cabo and which made a lasting, probably lifelong, impression on us.

For those who don't know, and I am not giving anything away here, Munich is about the carrying out of the plan hatched by Israel (or at the very least, by Israelis in very high positions in Israel's government and military) to assassinate the terrorists responsible for the deaths of the Israeli athletes murdered during the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. The plan is presented as a simple "eye for an eye" type deal: you killed our countryman, so we will kill you. But like all journeys into moral muddy waters, this one carried with it a steep and slippery slope.

The first assassination is fairly straightforward: "Are you so-and-so?"


"Do you know why we're here?"

Bang bang, and it's over.

But it doesn't stay straightforward for long. And it's not just that children and other innocents are put in harms' way or that families and property are destroyed on a major scale. It's that people begin to make their way onto the assassins' list who weren't there in the first place...bad people, yes...indeed, people who need to be stopped....nevertheless, where should the doling out of vigilante justice stop? And should it have started at all? And, of course, there's the problem of who you have to deal with when you get yourself into the business of hunting terrorists. There's the many people that must be trusted to assist you in some way...for example, porters to let you into the hotel rooms you shouldn't be in, suppliers of plastics to build explosives, those who know the whereabouts of those whom you are hunting. Usually "trust" (or some version thereof) can be bought for the right price. But sometimes, there's a higher bidder....and sometimes the person who is selling information to you may be selling information ABOUT you.

Ultimately, the question becomes: how is this vigilante justice really any different from the terrorism that it had set out to punish?

The movie's final shot (which I won't give away here) brings to mind one word for all of it: senseless.

Next topic: Brokeback Mountain, which we saw last night and which is still swirling around in my head, bringing up new thoughts and themes and questions. Now THAT was a memorable and achingly beautiful cinematic masterpiece.


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About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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