One Day In September

This 1999 feature won an Oscar for best documentary, but it’s jazzed up to give a true storythe kidnapping of 11 Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympicsthe pacing, punctuation, and suspense of a Hollywood action film. Director Kevin Macdonald (the grandson of producer Emeric Pressburger) knows how to put on a grand show, if you’re entertained by real-life carnage; frankly I’m not, and when the offscreen voice of one witness declares, It wasn’t a James Bond, it was the real thing, I had to wonder why the music suggested nothing so much as a James Bond thriller. To be fair, the film’s treatment of the Palestinians is a little less rancorous than one might expect from an academy favorite, even if home-movie footage of the wedding of one Jewish victim is brandished with all the subtlety of Roberto Benigni. But I felt throughout that I was being asked to participate in something indecent; this is the perfect evidence for anyone wishing to prove just how bloodthirsty Americans have become. Perhaps Series 7: The Contenders, the recent satire of reality TV, isn’t so excessive after all. 92 min. (JR)

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