As the American Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.
In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.
During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.
After Black September's assassination of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972, Prime Minister Golda Meir okays a covert 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
One of the posters in the athletes' apartment is of Masada (captioned in Hebrew script). Masada is of great significance in Jewish history, as it is a fortress Hebrew rebels held out in against Roman troops. Many of the rebels were killed or committed suicide, but it relates to the themes of death and resistance in this movie. See more »
Outside the hotel in London, a taxi goes over a speed bump, which wouldn't have been there in the 1970s. See more »
Ever since he has journeyed into serious films (starting with "Empire of the Sun" and then "Schindler's List"), Steven Spielberg has been searching for a method of making violence unattractive to moviegoers. "Schindler's List" was, of course, shocking, but this first attempt at strong violence did not quite have the intended effect. I know that a lot of people (including me) feel saddened by the film, but SL's violence could seem distant at times, like the audience was merely an observer. "Saving Private Ryan" was the second great attempt at making moviegoers detest violence, but this seemed easily dismissed as a war film, showing events that would probably never happen again, like showing violence in a distant universe. Munich is his latest effort, and it shows Spielberg's feeling that his previous films, although progressive, had not quite 'hit the mark'.
The violence shown in Munich is, perhaps, the most brutal realistically intentioned violence ever shown on film. I say 'realistically intentioned' because, like the average moviegoer, I have not witnessed people getting shot or blown up, so I don't know what those events would actually look like. There are many signs in the film that Spieberg is trying to improve on his earlier efforts. The guns in the film are REALLY loud when fired. This has the effect of putting you in the fight, making it more intimate when someone IS shot. The bullet wounds and remains after explosions are quite gruesome. When someone dies in this film, no matter what side they are on, you feel no happiness, no relief or awe. You feel a sense of death, nothing dramatic, just blank and empty. For this reason, Munich is one of the most important films to have come out, and perhaps it is Spielberg's best ('Raiders' is too superhuman to be included on that list). Spielberg deserves the best director for this one.
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