A powerful film about the psychological and political toll that an “eye for an eye” can have on the world s well as the individual, MUNICH is a heavy film that almost collapses, like the characters that inhabit it, under its own weight.
During the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Palestinian terrorists kill two Israeli athletes and take nine others hostage leading to the death of both parties when the German police ambush them at the airport.
Golda Meir (Lynn Cohen), The Prime Minister of Israel, decides that this requires special circumstances and wants to show the world that terrorists will not be allowed to get away with this. She puts together a secret task force of Mosad (The Israeli intelligence agency) agents led by the idealistic Avner (Eric Bana) and including four others, each with particular skills.
Over the course of their lengthy mission to assassinate the eleven men responsible for planning the Olympic attack, each one begins to question the reality of what they’re doing and what it means in the grand scope of things. If you cut off the head it just grows another and the collateral damage caused possibly far outweighs the moral veracity of the mission.
Directed by Steven Spielberg, there’s no denying that MUNICH is a fine piece of filmmaking. Gorgeously shot in a retro 70’s style, everything from the production design to the costuming in top-notch.
The actors also give stellar performances. Rounding out the cast are Daniel Craig, Ciarán Hinds, Michael Lonsdale and a superb Geoffrey Rush as the team’s handler.
The only regret is that at almost 3 hours in length, the film feels long. It’s a slow burn along the lines of TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (2011), so it almost feels like a TV miniseries crammed into one movie. It’s also very dry and morally grey asking a lot of difficult questions without providing answers.
But at the end of the day, MUNICH is quite watchable and an interesting slice of history. If you’re a fan of movies like ARGO (2012) and DAY OF THE JACKAL (1973) than MUNICH is a fine companion piece.
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