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Not a Beer Festival in Sight
Member Name: Essexgirl2006
Advantages: Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush
Disadvantages: The subject
The film is based on a controversial book called 'Vengeance' by one George Jonas who claims he was told the story by the man who is portrayed in the film as Avner. It takes very little research on the net to find that there is plenty of speculation as to the reliability of Jonas' source, but at the same time Avner (should he exist) is hardly likely to want to put himself in the public eye. Spielberg himself has claimed that this film is 'inspired by real events' but that does not mean it is the truth. Of course, Israel has not officially admitted that it sent a team of Mossad agents to track down and kill the terrorists in a revenge attack, but no one is denying that there is a possibility a team of sorts was sent out to avenge the Munich massacre. To pretty much put the words in the mouth of Israel's then Prime Minister Golda Meir in the film, that this is the case is a bit naughty on the part of Spielberg. I think he should have been clearer about where the facts end, and the speculation begins. I don't doubt that some artistic licence has been used, and in other situations the blurring of the boundaries could make for an interesting film, but in this case just made me uncomfortable. If this was Spielberg's intention then he did a good job, but I felt his intentions probably lied elsewhere, which I shall come too.
Before I wander completely off-topic, I will go back to the story, such as it is. The men have taken the list of targets in good faith and set about killing them with various degrees of success, we don't know anything about the background of the targets, but see them portrayed as family men or popular members of their communities, so you naturally are uncomfortable at seeing them killed. It is not until much later that Avner queries what connection these seemingly normal people have with Black September (the terrorist group behind the Munich attack) but not much is made of it. The bulk of the 2 hours, 20 minutes of the film is taken up with one killing after another, followed by revenge killings for other attacks and for attacks on them. This is where Spielberg was coming from, I think. The senselessness of the eye-for-an eye outlook, meaning the killing will never cease as the film closes with the New York skyline (including the World Trade Centre) in the background. Perhaps he is saying 'Have we brought it on ourselves?' Perhaps I am trying to read too much into it, but I can't see any other point to the film, otherwise it would just lurch from one killing to the next.
Apart from Avner, we know nothing about the background of any of the team, but it is taken as given that they bond and get on. There is a token effort to show Avner trying to maintain his relationship with his wife and his paranoia at potentially becoming the hunted rather than the hunter is well thought out and well executed. Eric Bana does a good job at the role, but with the other characters so superficial I don't feel I can comment on if the acting is flawed or the character. Is Daniel Craig's character meant to be so wooden and driven, or is that just how he has been portrayed? I really have no idea as there was so little opportunity to make a judgement. Certainly his South African accent sucked. Geoffrey Rush is worth a mention for his performance as a Mossad official, but outside of him and Bana, not a lot has been asked of any of the others (and if it was, they obviously refused).
Direction wise, I assume Spielberg achieved what he set out to do. The film is beautifully shot, and I would think that the attention to detail in depicting the era helped make the film seem authentic. Music is by John Williams (who else?) and is very appropriate in that you don't really notice it; it fits in so well with the film.
Overall, I was very disappointed with the film. It didn't teach me anything new about this event in history, instead it just muddied the waters between fact and fiction. I would have thought the majority of typical cinema goers would have been born after the event or be that bit too young to remember it and perhaps a bit more background info on what led up to the massacre would be interesting and helpful. I felt the film has miss-sold itself to me, it is not about Munich at all but about revenge and charging round cities in Europe bumping people off. It isn't even that good an action flick and any political message (if, indeed, there was supposed to be one) is vague and inconclusive. Basically the film is about hatred and vengeance, so if that doesn't bother you, then you will be fine.
'Munich: The Mission, The Team' is a 'making of…' type featurette. It lasts about 12 minutes and glosses over the 'moral minefield' as they refer to it to nice safe topics like the cast and crew waffling on about what an important film it was.
There was also a Descriptive Video Service for the visually impaired.
Summary: Not one of Speilberg's greater works