Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters and endeavor to build a village in order to protect themselves and about 1,000 Jewish non-combatants.
After Black September's assassination of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972, Prime Minister Golda Meir okays a black-box operation to hunt down and kill all involved. A team of five gathers in Switzerland led by Avner, a low-level Mossad techie whose father was a war hero and whose wife is pregnant. It's an expendable team, but relying on paid informants, they track and kill several in Europe and Lebanon. They must constantly look over their shoulders for the CIA, KGB, PLO, and their own sources. As the body count mounts -- with retribution following retribution -- so do questions, doubts, and sleepless nights. Loyalties blur. What does it mean to be a Jew? Written by
The film crews called the shooting of the movie as a "race against the clock". In order to have the film ready by Christmas for Academy Awards consideration, Steven Spielberg and editor Michael Kahn devised an editing schedule in which:
1) All of the scenes in Malta and Hungary shot in twelve weeks were edited on the spot. Each day Spielberg would review an edited scene shot two days earlier.
2) Two copies of the edited scene were sent out, one to John Williams for music and the other to Ben Burtt for sound effects.
3) The Paris and New York scenes were edited two weeks after photography and the final cut was readied after another two weeks.
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 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.
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