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Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » Munich (movie) » User review

'Home is all that matters'

  • May 11, 2006
  • by
Rating:
+5
Attempting to understand what drives people to kill other people for any reason is, in the pit of the soul, a challenging enigma. Whether that 'reason' is war between countries at odds, protecting one's self when endangered, revenge or vengeance for deeds perpetrated by 'the other', for panic in the moment of survival - each of these feels wrong despite the fundamental belief to the contrary at the moment of killing. MUNICH is about killing, about vengeance, about protection of 'home', about existence in a world so bifurcated by age-old schisms, and about us. And while absorbing all of the 2 1/2 hour plus visual and philosophical information put forth in this epic film, the viewer is so paralyzed by the story that blinking for a second seems irreverent.

The tragedy of the 1972 Olympics - the brutal kidnapping and murder of eleven Israeli athletes by masked Arab/Palestinian marauders - is brought to the screen with brave and gutsy realism by a brilliant script by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth based on George Jonas' book Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team, directed with straightforward, no-nonsense sensitivity to all participants by Steven Spielberg, and brought to life by a cast that simply could not be finer. From the opening of the film sans credits with the Black September act of breaking into the Olympic games in Munich, the film moves swiftly through the formation of an anti-terrorist league of Israeli assassins whose job it is to hunt down the killers and murder them, to the final painfully unsettled end. This is all under the instruction and guidance of Golda Meir (brilliantly played by Lynn Cohen) and her advisors.

The team of Avner (Eric Bana), Steve (Daniel Craig), Carl (Ciaran Hinds), Robert (Mathieu Kassovitz), Hans (Hanns Zischler), and Mossad Accountant (Oded Teomi) are instructed by Ephraim (Geoffrey Rush) and stripped of their identities to enter this mission. They roam the world based on information purchased from a secret group led by Louis (Mathieu Amalric) and Papa (Michael Lonsdale). Gradually growing into the roles of assassins the group begins to murder each of the perpetrators until their success is noticed by all manner of secret agencies (including the American CIA) and the tables are turned: the lives of the Israeli assassins are as endangered as those of the Arab murderers. In a particularly touching moment in the dark, Avner and a Palestinian soldier debate the need for the state of Israel and the opposite need for holding onto home by the Palestinian: it is a moment of writing that sums up the entire Israeli conflict.

The cinematography by Janusz Kaminski and the music score by the always fine John Williams add dimensions of atmosphere to this dark film, but it is Spielberg doing what he does best in directing attention to moments in history that will never be buried that makes this phenomenal movie an emotional experience for everyone, no matter their political or religious beliefs. It is simply a brilliant film about the need for Home - that sacred place whether internal or external that maintains the reason to live and even to die for it. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, May 06

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More Munich (movie) reviews
review by . April 29, 2009
Having lived through the coverage of the slaughtered Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympics, I felt like I was experiencing the actual events as they were occurring over again. Speilberg did an excellent job using stock news footage from the tragedy and overlaying actors into recreated scenes. Though these events are actually shown piecemeal throughout the film, the actual story is about what transpired afterwards. The Israeli government hired a hit squad to track down and eliminate 11 individuals …
review by . June 06, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Balance, depth of investigation, engaging, at times edge-of-the-seat      Cons: Unnecessarily long, moral ambiguity hamfisted at times      The Bottom Line: I never would have expected a man with a child-ish/like eye to be able to make a film that wallows in vast moral grayness.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.      For about thirty years, the overwhelming …
review by . November 15, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Having lived through the coverage of the slaughtered Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympics, I felt like I was experiencing the actual events as they were occurring over again. Speilberg did an excellent job using stock news footage from the tragedy and overlaying actors into recreated scenes. Though these events are actually shown piecemeal throughout the film, the actual story is about what transpired afterwards. The Israeli government hired a hit squad to track down and eliminate 11 individuals …
review by . June 19, 2006
"Munich" is powerful and perhaps one of Spielberg's most compelling and thought provoking work. He weaves a tapestry of political and social threads focusing on terrorism and the cost of violence. "Munich" is truly amazing in balancing linear storytelling and horrific acts of violence, demonstrating the impact of the aftermath. Spielberg's "Munich" seen through the eyes of Eric Bana's Avner is a powerful allegory that even in the most just and noble fights against terror we eventually become that …
review by . May 22, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Steven Spielburgh's "Munich" is a fearless classic. He takes the 1972 Olympic slayings of innocent Israeli athletes and recreates the ordeal in all its horrifying detail. We get some of the footage from ABC's "Wide World of Sports" to create authenticity, but the reinactment has all the immediacy and horror of "Schindler's List" and more. After the outrage, one of Golda Meier's trusted bodyguards (Eric Bana) is summoned to join a team of assassins meant to seek vengeance on the perpetrators. The …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #97
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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At its core,Munichis a straightforward thriller. Based on the bookVengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Teamby George Jonas, it’s built on a relatively stock movie premise, the revenge plot: innocent people are killed, the bad guys got away with it, and someone has to make them pay. But director Steven Spielberg uses that as a starting point to delve into complex ethical questions about the cyclic nature of revenge and the moral price of violence. The movie starts with a rush. The opening portrays the kidnapping and murder of Israeli athletes by PLO terrorists at the 1972 Olympics with scenes as heart-stopping and terrifying as the best of any horror movie. After the tragic incident is over and several of the terrorists have gone free, the Israeli government of Golda Meir recruits Avner (Eric Bana) to lead a team of paid-off-the-book agents to hunt down those responsible throughout Europe, and eliminate them one-by-one (in reality, there were several teams). It’s physically and emotionally messy work, and conflicts between Avner and his team’s handler, Ephraim (Geoffrey Rush), over information Avner doesn’t want to provide only make things harder. Soon the work starts to take its toll on Avner, and the deeper moral questions of right and wrong come into play, especially as it becomes clear that Avner is being hunted in return, and that his family’s safety may be in jeopardy.

By all rights, Munich should be an unqualified ...

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