Reading over the comments and message board postings for Munich on this site, I get the impression that at least 75% of the people here are less interested in discussing the film and its message than the Arab-Israeli conflict in general. I've read a lot of baseless criticisms, and I honestly think that the whole point went over most of these people's heads. The ones who have actually seen the movie, that is.This film was a masterpiece, and it's refreshing to see such a heavy, thought-provoking film released by a major studio. Anyone who claims that the film is pro-Israel or biased <more>
in either direction really has brought their own baggage to the theatre with them, or they haven't actually seen the film firsthand.To anyone seriously interested in seeing this film, PLEASE do not listen to the pseudo-intellectuals who are posting their ignorant, uninformed opinions of the film at IMDb. Don't go to the theatre expecting to have your own personal bias whichever it may be reinforced. The only bias you will find in this film is your own.
In an interview given shortly before the release of "Munich," director Steven Spielberg discussed his film in the context of world terror today, as follows: "Somewhere inside all this intransigence, there has to be a prayer for peace." I personally recall the tragic events of the 1972 Olympic games in Munich, as I had just graduated from college and was following closely the moving and graphic images on television, as described so vividly by newscasters Jim McKay and Peter Jennings. The opening scene of "Munich" recreates the attack on the dormitory and the <more>
subsequent killing of the athletes at the airport. Those were ten minutes of taut and riveting drama.But the main dramatic impetus of "Munich" is the retaliation on the Palestinian planners of the "Black September" massacre. The strike force is led by the character Avner, a zealous and patriotic member of Israel's Mossad. Along with Eric Bana in the role of Avner, the entire cast of "Munich" is superb. Geoffrey Rush is a standout as the Mossad handler of Avner, and in an all-too-brief scene, Lynn Cohen turns in a charismatic performance as Golda Meir.But "Munich" is not a film to discuss in terms of star performances, and much credit should go to Tony Kushner and Eric Roth for the thoughtful ensemble screenplay. The most memorable moments in the film are those involving the hit team led by Avner. In the planning and carrying out of the assassinations by a small group of men, it becomes clear that the participants are no more than ordinary people who become obsessed with killing. Thus Avner, who would prefer the domestic world of living with his wife and newborn daughter, descends into a virtual state of madness as a result of the killing frenzy.The Greek poet Aeschylus wrote one of the most expressive works of literature on the theme of "an eye for an eye" in the revenge trilogy "Oresteia." That epic work dramatizes the culmination of the long cycle of murder within the ill-fated House of Atreus in Greek mythology. The killings finally end when the goddess Athena establishes the law court in Athens to provide human justice, as opposed to blood vengeance. Orestes succumbs to the pursuit of the furies and spirals into madness. That was the precise tragic journey of Avner, as depicted in "Munich."Mr. Spielberg's concept of "intransigence" gets to the heart of the matter in our own modern tragic experience. In the Oxford English Dictionary, the word intransigence is defined as "uncompromising hostility; irreconcilability." Like the "Oresteia," the film "Munich" provides a balanced and powerful commentary on the human impulse of "an eye for an eye" revenge. The ancient Greek concept of justice meant something like "scale" or "balance" used to resolve a seemingly irreconcilable conflict. The thoughtful and powerful film "Munich" offers us the opportunity to meditate on this concept, not for the 5th century B.C. world of Aeschylus, but for our own.
"It's strange, to think of oneself as an assassin." - Carl (by MichaelMargetis)
If you ask me who was the most talented director working in film today, I'd hesitate for a while. Then I'd look at you and say, "Probably Steven Spielberg'. A lot of film directors in Hollywoodwho are well-known are overrated Oliver Stone, Sofia Coppola, Anthony Minghella, etc , but one that is not overrated at all is Spielberg. The man is obviously a cinematic genius who thrilled and enthralled us with his grim but unimaginably powerful WWII epic 'Saving Private Ryan', his still-frightening 'Jaws', his severely underrated 'Amistad' and of course, his <more>
heart-breaking masterpiece that still remains one of the twenty best films of all time 'Schindler's List'. I can't even begin to describe to you how jazzed I was about the controversial vengeance drama 'Munich', which was Spielberg's first Oscar-contending movie in seven years. After viewing it I have to say I was a bit let down, but I still got what I predicted I'd get going into the theater -- the best film of 2005. Spielberg challenges our beliefs on justice with his intense but painfully realistic bone-chilling masterpiece. You have to see this movie.Almost around the age of 45-50 remembers the 1972 Olympics incident that happened in Munich. On a gloom September day, eleven innocent Israeli athletes were abducted and taken prisoner by a mob of Palestinian terrorists. The terrorists held them hostage at the Munich airport, then based on a mistake by the Munich police department many terrorists were killed and took all of the unfortunate hostages with them. The film starts after these events when Prime Minister Golda Meir Lynn Cohen , secretly decides to start a small mission to find the Palestinian's responsible and murder them. She hands the case down to case officer Ephraim Academy Award Winner Geoffrey Rush - Shine who hands it over to Meir's ex-bodyguard Avner Eric Bana - Troy . Avner must leave his family to undergo this mission and form a team to help him complete it. The team is; Steve Daniel Craig - Layer Cake , the trigger-man, Carl Ciarin Hinds - HBO's Rome the clean-up man, Robert Mathieu Kassovitz - Birthday Girl , an ex-toy maker turned explosives expert, and the elderly Hans Hanns Zischler - Undercover who is a forging expert. They five go on a mission of vengeance, but are soon faced with unexpected problems in the process and feelings of guilt which lead some to believe maybe what they are doing isn't righteous.When creating 'Munich' Steven Spielberg could have sided one way or the other on issue 'revenge killing', but he doesn't, and I strongly admire that. Instead, Spielberg does what any intellectual would do, he presents situations and historical truths and makes you decide for yourself. That's something you can't expect nasty politically-slanted morons like Michael Moore to do. Spielberg provides us with the best film directing in two years with his quiet stroke of genius that is Munich. Spielberg's directing is both electrifying during the action sequences and beautiful during the poignant and thought- provoking scenes like when Kassovitz's Robert questions Bana's Avner about the good of what they are doing in a subway station on the way to assassinate another target. Munich's film editing and cinematography both should win Oscars, while the acting which isn't getting much acclaim from award mediums is frightfully close to perfect. Eric Bana gives the performance of his career as Avner that will no doubt impress you, while Kassovitz, Zischler and Craig exceptional also. Rome's Ciarin Hinds turns in an outstanding performance as the ultra-cool clean-up guy Carl that should also win an Oscar nomination, while Geoffrey Rush does wonders with a small role as Avner's case officer so does Lynn Cohen as Golda Meir . If Spielberg's 'Munich' doesn't tug at your chest at the end, I would question your humanity. Spielberg doesn't butter this up so it goes down easier, he aims straight for the gut with his razor sharp realism and rubs salt in the wound. 'Munich' isn't a fun film, but there is no question it is a riveting and nearly flawless one. You will have a lot to talk about after the film has ended. With 'Munich', Steven Spielberg gives us one hell of a history lesson. Grade: A screened at AMC Deer Valley 30, Phoenix, Arizona, 1/7/05
Depth and detail - with no sides taken (by hafeez-2)
This movie relates more than just a story of "Vengeance". Besides proving that killing begets killing - it consists of numerous fine details that reveal the hard work done at getting to the depth of things:For instance, only characters that get shot in the head slump to the ground. The rest take time to die - they walk a few steps, spurt blood and express a look of helplessness and inevitability before going out. Yes its horrifying to look at, which is the point, but it is also real. Every character is different, and though common in their desire for vengeance, their temperaments <more>
are clearly distinguishable in the way the hit men approach their task. Even the terrorists are not stereotyped into hysterical, screaming lunatics. They range from the visibly nervous to the cool Abu Salameh with the movie star style. They are poets, intellectuals and guerrillas each with his story of the conflict. They speak passionately about home - a recurring theme, along with "family". Moreover, Spielberg does not attempt to mitigate the grotesque manner of their deaths, for the blood of the targeted men flows as freely as that of their victims - and when they are blown up, their body parts dangle from ceiling fans. You are not here to feel satisfaction over anyone's death, Spielberg says to the audience. Or as Caine would say in Kung Fu: "The taking of a life does no one honour."There are no easy "shoot-em-dead" eliminations. There are neighbors, bystanders and obstacles that must be avoided and protected - with variable success. Innocent people may be harmed - and one has to live with that.There are no mathematical certainties about the potential damage a bomb will cause. Perspectives and convictions can change, sometimes regrettably. "Don't think about it - just do it" says Avner at one stage when a member of the team expresses doubts about a target's guilt. But at the end he wants evidence that the men he despatched were justifiably killed. Implausible? No; it is only when he has been reunited with his family and experiences the affection of wife and child that he allows himself to reflect from a different perspective - their targets had families too - what if he had killed the wrong men?The paranoia that permeates the world of spies and assassins is built up gradually - to the point where every survivor mistrusts everybody else. One is doomed all one's life to walk with ears strained for following footsteps. The length of the movie creates the right atmosphere for this idea. The end dissatisfies many because they would like a reassurance, a note of optimistic finality - but Spielberg rightly offers none. It would be dishonest of him to offer a false but comforting illusion.It is interesting to contrast this movie with "Paradise Now" that has no violence, a modest budget, and views the conflict from the Palestinian camp. Both narrate completely different stories - yet, in their respective ways, both humanize their subjects, defuse myths about glory, and arrive at the same conclusion: "There's no peace at the end of this."
'Munich' is, on the whole, a straight forward hit-man movie. The assignments are handed out; the team is assembled, each with their own specialty; and they travel about Europe plotting and carrying out their hits. We have the inevitable paranoia, the double agents and suspicious loyalties. So far, so familiar. Only 'Munich' is wrapped in the thin veneer of 'history' and 'fact', and mob bosses and corporate espionage is replaced with Middle Eastern politics and Israeli-Arab relations. I mention this because the politics of 'Munich' are really nothing <more>
more than a topical plot devise, used the same way as cold-war relations and soviet villainy was used thirty years ago.What prevents 'Munich' becoming just a generic updated-cold-war thriller, is the sheer quality of the production. From the flawless recreation of European capitals in the early seventies to the impeccable costume design to the beautiful cinematography 'Munich' is a visually fascinating movie. The performances are universally outstanding, with Bana in particular bringing a sense of tough nobility that seems to be his forte. The script is intelligent and thought-provoking, and it is Kushner's focus on the emotional and psychological landscape of his characters rather than the details of political contract killing, that ultimately lifts the movie above the generic. The kind of self-consciously poetic prose for which he is known, so often seeming unrealistically erudite, is kept to a minimum, and when it does appear, is so beautifully written and performed that all reservations are forgotten.Ultimately, the greatest praise must be reserved for Spielberg, who has, with 'Munich', created perhaps the first truly adult movie of his career. We see no signs of his trademark sentimentality, his descents into fantasy, his childish simplification of motivation. With 'Munich', he embraces ambiguity and complexity, and as a result, has invited criticism from those who prefer their drama simplistically black and white. Above all, one can't help but wonder what the Spielberg oeuvre would look had he not dedicated his career to kid's movies, fantasies and feel-good sci-fi.'Munich' is an intelligent and gripping thriller that is a major contender for award recognition, and deservedly so. An outstanding achievement.
Another dip in the Spielberg pool and I come away drenched in emotion. I was a freshman in high school in Texas during the Munich games. I was stunned by the events and understood little.Today, I am still stunned by Munich and every terrorist act that followed, but I understand so much more and grieve. Spielberg gives us a powerful glimpse into the meaning of home, family, honor, history, ethics, and faith. The movie is not about the Jews and Arabs. It's about human beings. It's about us.The narrative is driven by our connection to Avner. We watch as Eric Bana opens himself up in a <more>
way that the likes of a George Clooney in Syriana only dreams of.This is a must see.
Steven Spielberg has absolutely everything at his disposal, he can make an epic in no time at all. But, even he must know that films, most films have a soul and that can't be rushed. Why the need to rush this film into screens? For Oscar consideration? If there was a film that needed nurturing and thought was this one. The length is a flaw in itself. It makes it appear self indulgent and, quite frankly,annoying. If one could, and one should, put that aside, "Munich" is a remarkable experience. Tony Kushner and Eric Roth deal with people in all its complexity - a welcome new <more>
detail in a Spielberg film - and that gives "Munich" its most powerful aspect. Eric Bana is extraordinary and the humanity of his gaze is confusing and recognizable at the same time. His crying at hearing his child's voice over the phone is as real as his hardness when he massacres his targets. The controversy raising after the first public screenings seems pre-fabricated by a marketing machine. The questioning of Bana's character and the appalling nature of revenge can't be controversial it's at the base of human nature. To call Spielberg "no friend of Israel" is as absurd as it is suspicious. No, this movie is a thriller, based on actual events, directed by the greatest craftsman of the last 30 years in a record amount of time. Go see it.
Spielberg may be out-of-touch with the masses in terms of entertainment today WOTW but when he sticks to serious topics, he carves out sensational fares like this one (by Flagrant-Baronessa)
Munich may just be Spielberg's greatest accomplishment ever and it isn't a sweeping epic like you'd expect, but a patient psychological thriller that sneaks up on you and takes you and shakes you. It not shy away from blood, politics or nudity in its portrayal of events and this makes it extremely intense, absorbing and occasionally very violent. The first half of Münich is not altogether different from a heist drama; a group of diverse men with different skills team up to accomplish a mission. They get to travel across Europe, make deals, infiltrate suspect facilities and <more>
manufacture explosive devices. Unlike heist films, however, their mission is not for personal gain, but for the government. They are to assassinate eleven Arabs who were alleged to be behind terrorist attacks like Münich 1972. So the more accessible part of the film sees Bana and his men botch their way through a hit-list as inexperienced hit-men, fumbling and trembling with the weight of this somber new task.This part is so extraordinarily well-handled and engaging with a tone so tense and shadowed by politics and ethical dilemmas that every slight pause is mistaken for humour. It is also an excellent portrayal of an era - the 1970s - with great eye for detail, all carefully sewn together by a master tailor Spielberg . It is a fantastic piece of film-making.While Munich keeps you interested throughout, it gradually loses its fresh thriller edge by opting for more typical scenarios. Eric Bana's character goes through emotional struggles because he finds it too hard to kill people. He thinks about his family--his wife has just had a baby girl. He wonders if he is doing the right thing. He starts sympathizing with the Arabs. He wonders if they killings will stop once he has completed his mission. Everything is classic and you saw it coming. It needs to be present in the film for a balanced portrayal but the hackneyed formula with which it is expressed is disappointing. It started so promising, after all.Sadly, the culmination of this slightly hackneyed recipe manifests itself in the final scene of the film and it is absolutely dreadful and drags the whole film down by at least one star - but overall this is superb quality that is carried by a strong ensemble cast Geoffrey Rush, Daniel Craig although it is ultimately Bana's show. He captures the inner turmoil and hesitation of his character in the most believable way, making Munich into a worthwhile adventure for its performances alone. But most importantly, it dares to asks questions.8/10
A thorny piece of recent history (by Nazi_Fighter_David)
It is not so frequent to find a film that is intriguing Spielberg's "Munich" is beyond intrigue to the point to do ruinous damage It's a dramatic thriller that disarms you and leaves you shocked It really makes you question the nature of national retaliation, and gives you something to think about and discuss Spielberg tries to remain in equilibrium on a very sensitive issue He draws our attention to the consciousness of the Israeli assassins by showing their attempts to prevent injury to an innocent girl but, oddly enough, refuses to demonstrate the deplorable <more>
suffering of the Palestinians or their inalienable right of self-determination to return to their homeland Everyone who knows the story seems to have a different opinion about how it should be told "Munich" is about Israel's response to the murder, at the 1972 Olympics, of 11 Israeli athletes by Palestinian militants Spielberg's disputable film follows Israel's retaliation by presenting an Israeli commando led by a Mossad agent who is about to become a father, and he is asked to lead an assassination squad to track down and eliminate, by any means possible, the masterminds who had organized the Munich attack Spielberg shows a former Israeli prime ministerdressed as a womansneaking into Lebanon and assassinating targets The killings are carried out in Rome, Paris, Cyprus, Beirut and Athens