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
Putting history to one side and viewing it purely as cinematic entertainment, the first two hours are quite thrilling. With good story telling, realistic acting (apart from some dodgy accents) and big explosions, it's all quite compelling.
Without going into the story too much, 5 Jewish hit men are assigned to assassinate the 11 perpetrators of the 1972 Munich Olympics hostage disaster. All the hits are styled in a hand held camera fashion, which adds great tension and realism in true Spielberg style. Yes, the action is exceptional. There are two fantastic scenes where the hit men themselves get caught up in their own hit i.e. explosives and being too close when it goes off.
Although Munich plays accurately to the tragic 1972-hostage situation (so I believe), it's still a ham-fisted film. Some scenes don't knit together well and confuse cinema-goers, especially after the two-hour mark. That's when the film really goes down hill, but I'll get to the crap ending soon...so please be patient The overall style of the film plays like a documentary at times, especially the start. When story kicks in, it's all very typical of Spielberg and his limited view of outer USA. In a way this isn't a criticism, more of a observation i.e. when in Paris we see the Eiffel Tower, when in Amsterdam everybody rides push bikes, and so on. Clichés like this are always prevalent with American filmmakers. I was disappointed when in London we didn't see the Tower or Big Ben, although it was raining.
Now to the big issue, and it is big my friends. This is a big spoiler so stop reading now if spoilers aren't your thing. The ending, apart from being 30 minutes too long is awful. The camera splits between Eric Bana (Avner) having sex with his wife and the final act of the hostage talking where the hostages are brutally shot and blown up in a helicopter all synchronised with Avners almighty orgasm. It was truly sickening. Spielberg's a master filmmaker with yes men for editors who can't keep his films under two hours but hey, that's just me.
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