I think that people will look back on Steven Spielberg's career in years to come and wonder why this film didn't merit the reaction of some of Spielberg's other "historical epics". It's a good old-fashioned thriller in many aspects, except that this is a plausible semi-factual account of the search for the terrorists behind Black September and the Munich massacres.
The premise is relatively simple, a group is put together, all of them specialists and all of them put under cover by Mossad to seek out and kill the gunmen that escaped from Munich after the 1972 killings of Israeli athletes and coaches at the Munich Olympics on 6th September 1972. However, Spielberg never gets too involved in the "rights" and "wrongs" of this story - you know that he feels sympathy for the innocents who were killed, but he also appears to feel sympathy for both the Israeli and Arab terrorists as people, if not for the bloodshed caused by them.
Spielberg seems to want you to see these men and women capable of murder and of being real human beings at the same time. He never excuses their behaviour - given his own ethnicity, I would have assumed that he would, but he doesn't - and he makes the characters so real and sometimes even warm that you almost forget what they are capable of.
And this is the skill and probably the point of the story, you can never quite forget that they are also murderers. Eric Bana, as he often does, brings another dimension to his character, Avner, and the other lead characters (including the often criticised Daniel Craig - his accent wasn't THAT bad) also show you sides to what otherwise could have been portayed as cold-blooded terrorists.
But it is two French actors who I think deserve special mention: Mathieu Kassovitz who plays Robert, a toy-maker turned bomb-maker and Mathieu Amalric who plays Louis, a "fixer" who works for all of the special and secret service agencies, it seems. Both give wonderful performances.
Finally, Spielberg again pushes the emotional buttons at all points, dropping into the film reconstructions of the terrible events which triggered the events of the film: the massacres at the Olympics. Without even the slightest hint of docu-drama about it, you see the lookalike actors play out the events of that day without the slightest bit of tackiness. It perfectly underlines the tragedy of the whole situation.
Spielberg's modern masterpiece, then, definitely is worth watching. But I have to say on watching it a second and third time, I picked up on so much more detail and I would urge anyone, Spielberg fan or not, to watch it.