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Of all the great American director's work, Munich deserves a re-appraisal as the best Spielberg film ever made. It's an unconventional choice, perhaps, but probably only because it's one of his least-seen pictures. Plus, could a director responsible for so many happy childhood memories and famous for family fare like Jurassic Park, E.T., Close Encounters and Indiana Jones, really be any good at making a bleak, graphically violent, paranoid revenge drama centred on a character faced with an - by the credits - unresolved crisis of faith and identity?
Turns out he is.
Munich is the fact-based story of a squad of Mossad hitmen, led by Australian actor Eric Bana's German-Israeli Avner Kaufman, given the task of assassinating the Palestenian terrorists responsible for the murder of eleven Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympics. On paper, it's a straightforward thriller come men-on-a-mission movie; it even begins as such. But Munich is deceptive - it has an agenda that only reveals itself once the film's drawn you in. What starts as a run-of-the-mill, no-nonsense spy thriller descends into something much deeper. And much, much darker.
The tone of Munich is unlike any other Spielberg film except for, curiously, blockbuster War of the Worlds (made back-to-back with Munich), a film with an equally grim and defeatist attitude. Even those films where Spielberg appeared to explore a dark side, such as the sci-fi noir Minority Report, WW2 epic Empire of the Sun or, most obviously of all, holocaust drama Schindler's List, were all ultimately uplifted by an overpowering feeling of hope.
Not in Munich. The bouts of playful, childish comedy, present at times even in Schindler's List, are absent, replaced by a humour so black it's almost invisible to the naked eye. What's more, any optimism gives way to an increasing feeling of helplessness and constant reminders that revenge creates revenge, violence leads to violence, and the idea that terrorist networks are not easily conquerable but almost infinite, continuously regenerating.
And if you're at the very least hoping for last minute, Oskar Schindler-style redemption, then, unfortunately, you've caught Spielberg on a bad day. Not even the lead character, so often an archetypal, regular Joe in the 'Berg's movies, can lay claim to any. Avner Kaufman isn't your usual Spielberg anchor. This man is a murderer. He kills elderly men without question. He shoots a young boy in the head when he threatens to raise an alarm. He even - shock horror - seeks to cheat on his wife.
As Avner, Eric Bana is simply incredible, subtly embarking on a journey from bright-eyed jingoist to a disturbed, soulless figure used - and used up - by a country that senselessly wants revenge for attacks on its people, at the cost of its people themselves. His support is as flawless - Spielberg has always had an eye for casting the right people, whether huge stars or little-known character actors, in fitting roles, and Munich is an ideal example. Kaufman's hit squad is an eclectic dream team of world cinema performers - English Daniel Craig, Irish Ciaran Hinds, German Hanns Zischler, French Mathieu Kassovitz and Antipodean Geoffrey Rush as their leader - with supporting roles filled out by the likes of Ayelet Zurer, Mathieu Amalric and Moritz Bleibtreu.
The cosmopolitan cast are complemented by Munich's globetrotting sensibility - we're propelled all over the world, visiting Tel Aviv, Rome, Paris, Athens, Amsterdam, London, New York, Munich of course - and even more so by its mish-mash of film styles. For a '70s-set film about shady government wranglings, Munich inevitably takes much of its inspiration from the paranoid thrillers of New Hollywood; you can see Alan J Pakula's Paranoia trilogy and Sydney Pollack's Three Days of the Condor in the skewed camera angles, shadowy informants and cold, imposing urban settings. Stylistically, Munich also owes a debt to the cool naturalism of 1960s European cinema, with other scenes - the Mossad assault on an enemy compound in Beirut, in particular - employing a documentary-style realism which was, in 2005, a growing obsession for Western cinema, while the tense assassination sequences can only be described as Hitchcockian (albeit with violent denouements Hitchcock could only have dreamed of).
Hitchcock is, clearly, a familiar influence for all of Spielberg's films, but, elsewhere, the look and feel of Munich is entirely new for the director. It's refreshing to see a filmmaker who could, understandably so by now, be settling into old habits instead of completely reworking his style from the ground up, but it's even more compelling to see Spielberg explore a side of himself nobody knew he had, to embrace the darkness so willingly.
His A.I. adopted a similarly gloomy approach but the director was hindered by something that has now regrettably become one of his trademarks: the ill-fitting 'happy' ending. Munich doesn't make the same mistake, its very last scene offering little hope, or even any real closure, Rush's grumpily avuncular Ephraim refusing Avner's invitation for them to "break bread" together, at last revealing his true nature as as much of a multi-faceted leech as Avner's uncaring government. Still, it's another moment previous that sticks longer in the memory.
With Avner having quit his post as Mossad agent, one of the film's most lasting images is that of the former assassin, exhausted, empty, detached, bathed in a bleached out glow of light, waiting to be debriefed. The room is empty, all except for Ephraim working at a battered old tape recorder. You can't help but feel that Avner expected a shower of glory upon the completion of his mission, a display of immense gratitude from his adored homeland. Instead, there is a creeping realisation that a task that at first seemed so noble ultimately meant nothing. The final, devastating blow, for us and for Avner, are the passing words spoken by the amused Israeli general fleetingly sent to thank Avner for years of gruelling work: "That's it. There is no medal or anything!" Amongst all the bloodshed, the shootings, bombings and mutilations, this quiet, sober scene is perhaps Munich's most unforgettable.
Forget for the moment Schindler's List, Close Encounters, Jaws or any of the countless, child-friendly blockbusters Steven Spielberg has made over his career - if you're looking for Spielberg's masterpiece, an example of cinematic perfection and his opus, this is it. This is his most complete film; not marred by a sickly, child-friendly approach like E.T. or spoiled by an abrupt, jarringly 'happy' ending as in Minority Report or Saving Private Ryan - Munich has a cynical, paranoid heart through and through, from violent beginning to disheartening end. It takes no prisoners, relentlessly painting the world as a place not bound by morals but by opportunism, a place ruled by the selfish and the power-hungry. That Spielberg takes this approach with Munich makes his film all the more bold and daring. It was also unquestionably the right thing to do - correctly portraying the war between Palestine and Israel and, on a more global scale, the conflict between East and West, as so pointlessly, relentlessly destructive is much more appropriate than to simply sugar-coat the truth.
If you don't appreciate quality acting, outstanding cinematography or some genuinely nail-biting set-pieces, then this is still easily one of the deepest, most debate-inducing films of the last decade. It's the most thought-provoking film made by Spielberg yet and will be the cause of countless arguments and discussions regardless of whether you like the film or not. If you haven't seen it, do so now. If you've seen it before and didn't quite manage to absorb it all the first time, or simply found it lacklustre, as some did on its release, give it another try - you might come to agree that this little-seen and little-recognised revenge thriller is the best film of Steven Spielberg's career.
Munich is an excellent film which is directed by Steven Spielberg and is based upon the true events that took place around the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics by Palestinian terrorists
Rather than focus on the events in 1972 the focus is rather on the events after the attack when Israeli secret service agents were sent out in hit squads to bring those responsible for planning the murders to justice in a real eye for an eye policy, what is clever about the film is that it focuses on the emotions of those who made up the kill squads, something that is still topical today after the killing of a Hamas leader and the use of British cloned passports in the mission.
The film opens with the hostage situation and the failed attempt by the German security forces to rescue them when on a planne on the tarmac and then it switches to a meeting chaired by Israeli Prime Minister Golda Mayer, played by Lyne Cohen, at the meeting they come up with a list of 11 names to reflect the 11 athletes killed and these are now on the kill list.
Eric Bana stars as the leader of the squad Avner Kaufman while Daniel Craig plays his number two. The team are working largely independantly as the government wants to be able to deny their actual exiostence while at the same time making it known that those who attack Israel will have no where to hid as a series of high profile killings using ingenious methods such as explosives begin to happen across Europe.
This is a taut thriller of a film and a fascinating story unfolds especially as it focuses on the personal battles the assassins must have with their own consciences especially as their victims are shown to be family men and a bomb does not discriminate over who it kills, also they have to content with the risk of betrayal and other security services looking to protect their own interests.
There are some quite violent scenes in the film however the overall effect is to hold your interest and also pose some moral questions in your mind, certainly the revenge instinct is a strong one and on that basis you can understand the motivations of the killers.
It is quite a long film at around the two and three quarter hour mark but such is the importance of these events then the film justifies being that length and it is a gripping tale that was a fascinating film to watch. Definitely a film I would recommend seeing and well worth a five star rating.
Munich is a film directed by Steven Spielberg and portrays the story of the murder of a group of Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympic Games. The best known actors in the cast are Eric Bana, playing the lead character and Daniel Craig.
The film starts off with the attack itself as a group of Palestinians raid the Israeli's Olympic accomodation and kill some of them whilst holding the rest hostage. The film regularly cuts back to what happened on that fateful day resulting in all of the athletes ultimately being killed.
As a response, the Israeli government contact Bana's character to lead an unofficial hit squad to target those responsible for "black september." He accepts and is introduced to his four new associates (one of whom is Craig) and they get plotting the revenge attacks.
The real story here is not just the increasingly tricky counter attacks, but how Bana's character starts off as a doting father-to-be and transforms in to a paranoid father and husband who doesn't know who he can trust anymore. The part is brilliantly well acted by Bana throughout as he battles between what is right for his country and his family's needs. Questions are raised as to the point of his mission as more bloodthirsty men replace those that his team kill and in any case, where is the evidence of any of these men's involvement?
The film takes on a tricky subject matter with the whole Israel/Palestine war but does so with a very non-judgemental approach. Both sides of the conflict are given throughout the film although most of the story is obviously delivered from the perspective of Bana's Israeli main character. There are regular references to the inhumane treatment both sides have inflicted on the other and the fact that both blame each other for the often bloody consequences.
Owing to the nature of the film, some of the murders are quite graphic and the 15 certificate is certainly justified. That being said, I wouldn't say that the use of gore was excessive in this storyline.
My only real criticism of the film is that it is way too long. At over two and a half hours, it can drag in places although the tense subject matter does keep you intrigued pretty much all the way through.
Munich, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Eric Bana and Daniel Craig was released originally in 2005 and focused on the 1972 Olympic Games and the black September murders of that time, plus a look at the group of men who were secretly hired to kill the terrorists involved in that terrible attack.
In this movie itself it is fast paced and gets into the story straight away which I think is always a good thing. There is always a danger that you can spend too much time setting up the story without getting anywhere. As such, there are no opening credits which is unusual and you get straight into it. A group of men are seen wandering about outside the building where the Olympian athletes are staying. As we watch a group of Americans who are drunk help these men over the fence thinking they are foreigners who have stayed out too late. Unfortunately within minutes of getting over these men are changing clothes and pulling out machine guns. They then storm the rooms where some of the Israeli athletes are staying and open fire. It is an intense start to the movie which I think is great as it captures your imagination and this scene is mixed with actual news footage of the time that led to the death of eleven athletes in cold blood.
After the atrocity of the murders, the government hires in secret a group of men to hunt down and kill the men behind this barbaric event. They all have special skills of some description. Eric Bana leads the group which turns out to be pretty stressful in itself.
Spielberg certainly went all out with the blood and gore in this movie and definately doesn't hold back. There is alot of shooting and action and the depiction of the murders is graphic. However, this all adds to the realism and can't argue with this use of this to get the message across.
I thought that Eric Bana gives a great performance in this movie. He begins as a happy man expecting the birth of his child and takes on this job to lead this top secret team hoping and thinking it would only last a couple of months. However, as he gets deeper into it he knows that this will be tough both physically and mentally and he will have to be strong to get out of it. He portrays the trauma of it all fantastically well. Daniel Craig equally stands out as his supporting cast member.
I really liked the fact in this movie that sides were never taken in regards to the incident and the story was just told in a matter of fact way without any bias. The film is perhaps slightly long at 2 hours 45 minutes but it is interesting and exciting throughout. This is a must see for any fan of Spielberg or history.
Munich is a movie about the secret retaliation by the Israeli government against the Black September terrorists who participated in the 1972 Munich Olympic Assassinations which resulted in the death of Israeli Olympic athletes. The movie follows Avner, a Mossad agent, who leads a squad of secret assassins who trek through Europe to murder the Black September terrorists responsible for the 1972 Munich Massacre.
The movie excels in depicting the conflict between humans and violence. The squad is composed of average members (to stay out of the light of other agencies), and are not born killers. They are merely partaking because they believe they are doing a greater duty and good for Israeli and thier homeland. As they continue to progress through their mission and assassinate more individuals, Avner begins to question the morality of their actions. Aren't they committing the same evil if they assassinate terrorists who committed assassinations themselves? I do not want to ruin too much of the plot, but I will say that after each kill, a conflict arises, and creates a fascinating exploration of human emotions.
Although there has been many questions about the historical accuracy of this film, I don't think it is that important. We will truly never know all the details because it is a secret government case, but I think the themes outshine the necessity for historical accuracy. The conflict between morality, duty to one's country, violence, and revenge are beautifully explored in an impeccable manner.
Furthermore, this is a movie that makes one think. I think all you can ask from any well crafted film is that it does not present the viewer a black and white solution but forces the viewers to think. The viewers decide the validity of the moral positions of the characters and their devotion to their countries.
Two scenes when you want watch the movie, I implore you to pay attention to is the interaction between Avner and the Palestinian extremist. The other scene is the argument that arises after the many killings they have done and the conflict that occurs between how each member of the team views the killings.
The only criticism I had for this movie was I thought it was a tad too long. It is almost 2.5 hours, and I think it could have been 20 - 30 minutes shorter. Otherwise I thought it was an excellent film.
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
Munich is a fairly controversial film that's based on the Israeli government's covert revenge attack after the 1972 Munich massacre, where numerous Israeli athletes were murdered by terrorists. The film revolves around a ragtag group, led by the former Mossad agent Avner (Eric Bana), who aim to find and then kill as many members as possible of the Black September terrorist group. The film has been extremely divisive with its depiction of the Israeli government's response after the attack, with many arguing whether its frivolties with the truth are acceptable or not. Nevertheless, Spielberg's dedication is second to none, and it's hard to deny that this is a well crafted thriller that's well intended.
The film is based on the book Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team by Canadian journalist George, although perhaps takes things along a more conventional action-style revenge narrative, although it is anything but a rudimentary narrative. Spielberg infuses his usual emotive, family-based bent along with issues of identity to make a lengthy, if rewarding viewing that is divisive, but it seems that this is probably what Spielberg wanted with crafting his film. Bana is great in the lead role as a complex man who is torn between the loyalty to his country and to his wife, and while his other team-mates aren't developed enough, they aren't just action film, A-Team style cliches either.
It's perhaps a little lengthy, but one cannot dismiss the talent on display here, from Spielberg's schooled direction to the immaculate performances, from Bana in particular. The scene with the phone and the young girl is unforgettably tense, and there are plenty of emotionally resonant scenes throughout.
In 1972 the Olympic games held in Munich became a topic greatly discussed; and not for the sporting events. One night terrorists known as "Black September" a Palestinian group forced there way into the room of the Israeli Olympic team. Some of the team were executed there and then, while others were held hostage while negotiations were carried out. After a considerable time the terrorists moved the Israeli team to the airport; upon arrival they executed the rest of the team.
In Israel (allegedly) Prime Minister Golda Meir summoned one of her top military men Avner and presented him with a special task. Avner must travel the world with a team of highly skilled specialists and kill every person behind the terrorist atrocity. He is told that if he is caught the Israeli government will deny al knowledge of his existence. For Avner to receive such a request from the most powerful woman in Israel is one he finds difficult to turn down. But for Avner it means making a dreadful sacrifice, he will be separated from his wife who is due to give birth at anytime; and face the risk of not seeing them for several years, and that is if his mission is successful.
Avner accepts the task and assembles his team of four associates; together they form alliances with people who can get information on the people behind Black September. Initially all goes to plan, but when tracking down one of Black Septembers top men a blood bath occurs; the people that Avner gets his information from start selling information about him and his team to another interested party.
Eric Bana .... Avner
Daniel Craig .... Steve
Ciarán Hinds .... Carl
Mathieu Kassovitz .... Robert
Hanns Zischler .... Hans
Ayelet Zurer .... Daphna (as Ayelet Zurer)
Geoffrey Rush .... Ephraim
Gila Almagor .... Avner's Mother
Michael Lonsdale .... Papa
Mathieu Amalric .... Louis
Moritz Bleibtreu .... Andreas
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi .... Sylvie
Possibly like lots of people I had heard vaguely about the events of 1972, but knew very little of exactly what happened, bearing in mind we are talking 34 years ago and before I was born. So to see Munich was a good opportunity to get a bit of adult education.
The movie as a whole although directed by Spielberg with the odd exception it did not look like his work. I describe Spielberg movies like a stick of rock, if you snap it in half his name goes right through it. Munich is the exception; elements that Spielberg uses seldom in movies are a frequent occurrence here. There is a quite a lot of swearing, some quite graphic gore and even sex scenes all elements that are taboo normally for Spielberg. So for those of you that are not endeared by Spielberg because of his familiar traits then this movie is a safe and highly educational movie for you.
The performances were rather good, although I found that with the exception of the character Papa (a source of information) it was very difficult to warm to any of them. They all had a layer of the unapproachable about them. Avner for example played by Eric Bana I personally felt no warmer to him in the last minutes of the film as I did in the first few. But I guess this is intentional, at the end of the day the main characters are all revenge assassins. The character Steve played by the new Bond Daniel Craig was the warmest of the characters; he displayed clear emotions when things annoyed him.
The story itself based on the novel Vengeance by George Jonas, is very well crafted and easy to follow despite the complexities of the overall storyline. Although its difficult to warm to the cast members you are given a wide view of the characters themselves and how the events of their actions effect both there home life and their mental health. You can clearly see the effects their actions have had after several years pursuing this mission.
Having watched this film several weeks back I find myself haunted by one specific scene, and this is where Spielberg proves himself in my eyes to be an excellent craftsman. At one point during the film a woman comes under the teams sites, because of an event she may or may not have been involved in; and forgive me if I'm wrong but I do not actually believe that her involvement was confirmed. Avner leads his team onto her houseboat where they confront her, she has a basic awareness as to why they are there and almost certainly knows that she is minutes from death. When Avner and Steve fire one bullet each into her, she moves across the room and reaches out for her cat. She grabs her cat giving it a final farewell hug before moving to a chair where she is finished off. This scene plays on my mind because of the humanness of it. I found myself questioning if in the same circumstances I would hug my dogs before dying. This scene puts a whole new slant on a movie that up until that point had been cold and unfeeling. This image is clear in my mind today, and I find myself thinking about this on a daily basis. I discussed this with a friend and they said they felt the same emotion; any director that can make an image last in someone's mind like this has mine is undoubtedly the master of the cinema.
I found no down sides to Munich, it was well paced out and while others argue that the two and a half hour length was a bit over the top, I think if it had been any less something important would have been missed out. I also feel that those concerned about the time length may actually have not had much interest in the movie to begin with.
An opening introduction sees Spielberg explain some things he feels the viewer should know. He discusses why he set about turning vengeance into a movie, and why the events of Munich should be considered when looking at the state of our modern world.
Munich: The Team, The Mission. Is quite a length documentary, if you have asked a question about the movie (with the exception of the scene I mentioned earlier) its explained here. It separates fact from fiction, and highlights the fictionalized areas because of those areas nobody truly knows what happened. It also explains the selection process of Avner and his men covers the expanding list of targets and offers some views that have not been thought of.
You can pick up Munich anywhere for a few pounds.
Munich is a poignant and dramatic, slow-moving Spielberg film that has at its core the effects and fallout from the 1972 Munich Olympic Games massacre. Members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually killed by a group known as Black September, reported to have ties to a militant group linked to the Fatah organisation.
The film opens with some graphic scenes showing the massacre within the first five or ten minutes, before Spielberg introduces us to the squad of assassins who then plan to hunt down 11 Black September members and kill them as revenge.
It is a very suspenseful and dramatic film, with patience needed throughout. Do not expect a fast paced tense thriller, because that's not what this is about. It's a serious drama, with the suspense the main focal point, and the emotions that the squad must go through, each with their own skill and reason for recruitment, but each having to wrestle with their own demons throughout the film.
The cast do a fine job, with Eric Bana doing the leading. There is also a decent turn from Daniel Craig, despite the dodgy South African accent, and solid performances from such recognisable stars as Geoffrey Rush and Ciaran Hinds. Overall, the main focal point of the stars has to be Bana, and his personal struggle with coming to terms with what he is doing.
There are some great scenes from Bana towards the end of the film, where things catch up with him, and we are constantly reminded throughout the film that all characters lead lives other than those we initially see. It's an important point to note that most of the time in films, we don't get to see the personal lives of the main protagonists, just the bits necessary for the film. Munich, however, shows that these people have personal lives, even families, and it makes what the squad are doing all the more difficult. Spielberg and the cast manage to capture this very well on screen.
Despite this, I felt that the film was just too slow for me. I couldn't keep focus, despite the powerful drama unfolding. Indeed, it was the unfolding that just took too long for me, and I started to lose interest. By the end of the film, I was very tired, and although I can safely say it was a good film, it did take too long to give the impact it did so well.
Munich is a film I recommend watching. I am glad I saw it, although I probably wouldn't bother again. It is available from amazon.co.uk for £3.90 at the moment.
Munich is film that open in the midst of the 1972 Olympic massacre.
In retaliation to the events that unfolded the Israeli government embark
upon a revenge assault targeting eleven names (murder suspects)
for the eleven Israeli's slaughtered at The Games.
Munich boasts an outstanding cast who work so well together that
it's no surprise that several of them have worked together since namely -
Daniel Craig and Mathieu Amalric (Quantum of Solace). Not only are
the performances all of a very high quality this film also holds a great
script, based on true events and superlative camera work.
This a fantastically grainy revenge movie concentrating on the lies and
secrets that surround spies. Be warned this is not a glossy, glamorous
Bondesque mission to save the world with cool gadgets and gizmos,
but it is a must see movie that delivers a worrying sense of reality.
The idea that intelligence officers across the globe are all around us and
waiting to carry out an operation, or in some cases military blunder, is
genuinely something that has become more and more apparent in today's
ever politically/economically shifting world.
This film depicts a side of government that is usually not accessible,
the man in charge of the team carrying out the assassinations is mossad officer Israeli born and of German descent, Avner (Eric Banner). Confused already? Don't be this film need attention and it makes the audience think. The team is thrust together with no knowledge of each other, they do not exist and the their governments have plausible deniability of them, they are as expendable as their targets.
This is definitely what I would call a classy movie, with brilliant locations and
well developed characters throughout it really kept my knuckles white and my eyes fixed, considering I did not see this at the cinema and only watched it with no previous acquaintance with the story, I would say without hesitation that this is the best film I have seen this year. I strongly recommend this film to anyone that likes to be made to think.
Speilberg has become serious with this film and I like it, forget the E T's, Jurassic Park 3 and Men in Black 2's of the past this film really is something special. With crisis of conscience, question of value and morality and an overwhelming sense of duty, Munich finds itself becoming one of my all time top 20 films.
This was quite an enjoyable film. The film is based on the events after the Munich terrorist attack during the 1972 Olympics held in the city.
The film is directed by Steven Spielberg and his experience in directing great films is shown throughout this film. He shows the viewers at that start of the horror that happened in Munich and then begins the story of the Israeli retaliation. I don't think it is one of his best films but it is still good.
The film stars Eric Bana as Avnar who is recruited secretly by the Israeli government to assassinate 11 Arabs who had a role in setting up the Munich Terrorist attack. He is given the help of 4 others who expertise in their own ways and unlimited funds to help in his crusade.
This is a very entertaining film with lots of violent action, lot of people dying all in the name of retribution. Also you get to see the views of the Jews in how they feel after these attacks. Watching this film, you understand how one country or race's actions lead to a chain reaction effect upon the world. They may begin hunting yet they themselves will soon be hunted.
A very entertaining film, and well worth watching.
Being a fan of Steven Spielbergs films and knowing that this film was nominated for several awards, when I saw it at a good price I decided to buy it.
Based upon events after the 1972 hostage taking/killing off Israelli atheletes, the film deals with the actions of a small team of men put together by the Israelli government in order to exact revenge upon the leaders of the terrorist organisation responsible for the Munich attack - Black September.
Eric Bana stars as the leader of the team as they travel around Europe dispatching their targets one by one. In doing so he has had to leave behind his wife and newborn child and family.
The film is not your typical thrilling Speilberg film will be disappointed as this is a slow burning film that is intended to be thought provoking rather than exciting, after all the subject matter is rather more deep and worthy than your average film.
There are several set piece action sequences which are dealt with in a realistic and in fact fairly shocking manner. The placement of bombs to kill the targets is quite disturbing at times.
As the film goes on Banas' character is finding things more and more difficult as he struggles to come to terms with what he is doing and starts to doubt the validity of his actions.
I think the slow pacing of the film actually works well but I can see it putting some viewers off as they might find it boring.
This film is not a fun watch, nor is is meant to be, it is a seriousl subject portrayed very well by one of the film worlds best directors and as such I think it is a great film.
Spielberg tackles the difficult theme of terrorism. Should we respond to it with violence also?
A serious, dramatic viewing about the violence that stemmed from the Munich incident in 1972 when hostages were taken and ultimately killed at the Olympic Games.
This film will move you, grip you and provoke you into the debate, which is what any decent movie about the incident should do. So all credit to Spielberg, the writer and production.
What is especially effective is the real-life footage at the start of the film, which really casts a deep layer of realism over the rest of it, mixing with the recreation of events.
As a whole it manages to incite a lot of interest and awareness about the incident and raises the issue with insight, excitement and empathy.....with quite controversial results. Was the retaliation by Israel actually justified? It leans controversially in this direction.... However, there is symapthy for both sides....The ultimate message is one that simply speaks loudly against terrorism.
So basically, it's very highly recommended viewing, not just because it's a Spielberg film (with quality actors such as Eric Bana) in a serious mood in 2005 after the 9/11 attacks etc in 2001. There is still a lot of thinking about the issue of terrorism and its response from governments etc, and this is certainly a worrying area.
The DVD comes with an introduction by Spielberg which is a very important defence of his work. The documentary is also recommended, and provides further information.
I so desperately wanted to love this movie and add it to my all time favorite movie list, all the ingredients were there, Steven Spielberg at the helm, a compelling subject matter and some very accomplished actors.
I sat down to watch this movie and still wanted desperately to love it, but alas it turned out to be a little of a disappointment.
Indeed its an excellently acted movie with a great script and the story itself manages to juggle factual people / events with a not so factual plot involving the main actors, but the main thing this movie suffers from is being overly long, they could have told the story and had it all wrapped up within 2 hours, but somehow they managed to drag it out for over 2 and a half instead, no matter what your views on the Israeli / Palestinian conflict ( and one thing I can commend Steven Spielberg for is not taking sides, when It could have been so easy ) this does make for uncomfortable viewing in places, both sides are not without blame and although the movie is centered around the Munich Massacre carried out by the Palestinians, there are many more instances of violence from both sides both before and after the events in this picture.
Eric Bana does a great job of playing "Avner" the mossad agent assigned to the mission now known as "operation wrath of god" and his team are played excellently by a great cast of actors.
The story does draw you in often and there are some great realistic scenes of assasinations and the flaws and mistakes that ultimately Avners team will make, but after the mission is over the movie descends into Avner's own personal paranoia and fears of his and his families safety which again could have been played out alot quicker than it was ( the scene of Avner picturing the hijacking while having sex is frankly...surreal ).
Overall its a well acted movie, but you'll find yourself looking at the time about half way through and thats sad for a movie that deserves so much more.
There really is no better way to describe it than that. Munich is not an easy film to watch, but nor should it be - it might be fictionalised, but it's not fiction, the events all far too close to reality to make for comfortable, lazy viewing. The film follows a Mossad agent as he is tasked to hunt down and eliminate the men responsible for the 1972 murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Olympic games. He is given a team, money, a mission, and cut loose from those he knows, denied and left to carry out his task or die trying.
The film challenges our perceptions of right and wrong - first we're made to like Avner, he's very much the everyman, loves his mother and his wife, has a child on the way and a house to keep - and then we're forced to watch as he kills, with increasing ease. Do we sympathise with him, do we empathise, or do we simply watch? That is left to the viewer to decide.
Eric Bana as Avner is spot on, bringing a lot of warmth and humanity to a character that could have easily lost the audience by the time the first bullet was fired. Daniel Craig, pre-Bond, does well as Steve, showing a contrast to Avner, a man clearly more eager on this mission. Ciarán Hinds is excellent as ever in an understated turn, the voice of reason within the group. In terms of directing, this shows a different part of Steven Spielberg's range to what we're used to, giving a great balance between emotion and action.
This isn't a film to stop and start, or watch while you're doing something else, it needs full attention. But if you're willing to watch, it's well worth it.
Munich is, in many ways a companion piece to Spielberg's Schindler's List - a serious, thoughtful film, which nevertheless manages to entertain at the same time. It follows events which occurred during the 1972 Munich Olympics where 11 Israeli athletes were taken hostage and killed.
Those expecting a thrilling film will be disappointed. This isn't a film from Spielberg's "action period". Although the events are shown (using a clever combination of dramatisation, actual footage and flashbacks), they do not form the main part of the story. Instead, Munich focuses on what happened afterwards - the revenge mission and assassination attempt.
Munich is a steady, creeping, psychological film. Indeed, for the most part, the film is curiously bloodless. Whilst it doesn't shy away from bloodshed when it's dramatically necessary, it does not go all out to show death and destruction. Indeed, the assassinations are usually seen from a distance rather than close up. Instead, the film concentrates on the increasing psychological effects of the mission on the small team of Israeli assassins.
Heading up the team is a brilliant Eric Bana as Avner, a young, inexperienced man. Bana delivers a powerful portrayal of a young, idealistic Mossad agent, living in his father's shadow (a typically Spielbergian issue) and trying to do what he believes is right. As the film progresses, we see Avner turn into soulless, ruthless killer, determined to complete his mission at all costs. More importantly, though, we see the crushing psychological impact that determination has on him, as he slowly begins to question what he is doing and whether revenge has actually changed anything or just made matters worse. Bana makes Avner ruthless, vulnerable, sympathetic, despicable, cold and caring - a character full of contradictions. I've never really rated Bana that highly before, but from his performance in Munich, it's clear that given the right material, he can deliver a very powerful performance.
The only downside to this central performance is that the rest of the cast are a little wasted, very much taking support roles as the film focuses in on Avner's gradual mental decline. There's nothing wrong with the rest of the performances, and they are perfectly suited to the film. Indeed, there are some good, subtle turns from the likes of Geoffrey Rush, Ciaran Hinds and a host of other, less recognisable actors. Only Daniel Craig seems a little lost, sporting a very peculiar accent which grates on the ears. The only problem is that the film focuses so tightly on Bana that the others can get a little lost and become peripheral figures.
What makes the film especially powerful is that it deals with a difficult subject in an intelligent, adult way. It refuses to offer easy answers, or indeed to take sides. That is one of the film's strengths. Handled badly, it could have become little more than propaganda, but Spielberg refuses to let it descend to such levels. The film does not comment on the rights and wrongs of the Israeli actions, it simply shows them, along with their knock-on effects. This is no Western, where the good guys wear white and the bad guys black. Spielberg is very careful to give a balanced portrayal which shows the destruction, devastation and suffering which can be caused when two ideals clash. Neither side is "better" than the other and Spielberg makes it clear it's a simple matter of perspective as to whether someone is a "freedom fighter" or a "terrorist". In the current political climate, it's a timely reminder that there are no easy answers, especially when religion becomes mixed with politics.
Again, handled badly, there was a danger that the film might come across as "preachy". Yet, this is avoided, thanks to an intelligent script and sensitive directing. There are messages in the film, but they are subtly placed and not forced down people's throats. It's a film which makes you think and draw your own conclusions - about the nature of terrorism, of revenge and the murky world of politics. The viewer is forced to confront some uncomfortable truths at times.
If this all sounds a bit heavy, well, to be honest, it is! However, the dark atmosphere is occasionally lightened by little sparks of genuine humour. Not great big gags or anything silly like that, just humorous elements to ordinary conversations to help lighten the mood and make the characters seem just that little bit more human.
There are some downsides to the film, however. Some people may find it very heavy going, as the psychological aspect takes precedent over the few action sequences. It can also be a little confusing - certainly initially. Although the basic story is taken up using a mixture of dramatisation and real life footage, it is set up fairly quickly. After that, the film concentrates on Avner and his band of assassins. Their mission sees the action jumping around all over Europe, intermingled with flashbacks to the Munich Olympics, switching rapidly between both locations and time periods. Some of these switches are so rapid and unannounced that sometimes it can take a few seconds for your brain to click into gear and realise what has happened.
The film is also a little over-long. There's no doubt that the slow-burning, slow-paced drama really adds to the psychological tension and makes for a highly compelling, atmospheric film. At times, though, it does seem to drag a little. In particular, the ending (showing the post-mission effects) is unnecessarily drawn out and does mean the film ends on a bit of a low-key note.
Overall, though, Munich is a very powerful, highly charged film with a highly relevant message to deliver about terrorism and revenge.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Running time: 164 minutes
Best bit: the closing shot, which sends out a subtle, but powerful statement about terrorism in all its forms.
© Copyright SWSt 2008
Munich is a film with no easy answers, and plenty of uncomfortable moments. It also finds Steven Spielberg on masterly form behind the camera, telling a relentlessly serious and unsettling story with the gravitas it absolutely requires. Set immediately after the murder of nine Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics (an event thats brutally re-enacted), the film is supposedly a fictionalised account based on true events of what happened next. Namely, the Israelis ordering together a secret team--led by Eric Banas Avner--to take out those they considered responsible. Only its not that easy. It doesnt take long for the film to start blurring the moral debate. Is what Avner and his team are doing that different from the original assassins? Can he reconcile the brutality of his actions? And what happens when the programme of retaliation doesnt go quite to plan? By turns, Munich is a brutal, gripping and important film. Its not always easy to penetrate, and it really demands some good old-fashioned concentration to fully appreciate it. Yet its superb filmmaking, and an engrossing piece of cinema. Oscar may have snubbed it, but youd be wise not to make the same mistake.--Jon Foster