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(2005)

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9/10
Depth and detail - with no sides taken
hafeez-226 January 2006
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 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."
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10/10
Justice or Vengeance?
jon.h.ochiai7 January 2006
Gandhi said, "An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind." What distinguishes justice from vengeance? This echoes throughout Steven Spielberg's "Munich". "Munich" is powerful and perhaps 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 which we despise. "Munich" really serves as a reminder. Mossad team leader Avner played by Eric Bana is absolutely riveting as the man who begins this righteous cause only to find that the cost is his soul. Anver asks, "When does it ever end?"

At the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Palestinian terrorists brutally murdered the Israeli wrestling team. This political statement was seen around the world and depicted in gory detail by Director Spielberg. Based on the book "Vengeance" by George Jones, the screenplay by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth tells the story of the aftermath of this tragedy. A great Lynn Cohen who plays Prime Minister Golda Meir says, "Every civilization finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values." Poetic words for what follows are a search and destroy mission. The Mossad assembles a team lead by Avner (Bana) to track down and kill with extreme prejudice all those involved in the terrorist action in Munich. 11 names are identified for execution. These executions are also intended to serve as statements. Anver though an inexperienced operative and not an assassin is selected for the covert mission by Ephriam (the great Geoffrey Rush) for being a strong and effective leader of men. The assassin team is composed of Steve (Daniel Craig—the next James Bond), Carl (Ciaran Hinds), Robert (Mathieu Kassovitz), and Hans (Hanns Zischler). They are dissociated from the Mossad, i.e. they technically don't exist.

In accepting the lead, Avner must leave his beautiful and pregnant wife Daphna (a very strong Ayelet Zorer) for what could be a number of years. Carl has his doubts about Avner, telling him that he was chosen because he is a "good soldier". Soon Carl respects Avner for his quiet force and conscience. Attack of conscience and paranoia soon engulf the team as they become entrenched in the world of underground intelligence for hire. Avner pays large sums of money for information on the whereabouts of his targets from Louis (wonderfully shady Mathiew Amalric) and his wealthy Papa (weary and noble Michael Lonsdale). Avner soon finds that whomever he kills is eventually replaced, and that he and potentially his family is now a target for the terrorists he was assigned to hunt down and kill. The realization is that it truly never ends. Bana is amazing as a trapped animal in the scene in his thrashed apartment—searching for weapons of his demise. Paranoia sets in, and the path of justice and vengeance become blurred. In a poignant scene Robert pleads to Avner, "When I lose my righteousness, I lose everything…"

Nothing about "Munich" is easy, though it is simple. I believe that is Steven Spielberg's intention. "Munich" could be tighter in spots, though this does not diminish the movie's power and impact. Eric Bana emerges as the noble hero battling to salvage his own humanity and his very soul. "When does it ever end?" Perhaps even in the current context there is no real answer—maybe what Spielberg is getting at. It is a reminder of our humanity, that even the most righteous cause may cost our souls. "Munich" is truly a powerful movie worth seeing.
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10/10
An extraordinary film—riveting, involving, challenging
mlg-223 January 2006
I am not a big Spielberg fan, and find he often goes for cheap emotional manipulation in his films, especially his endings. I was there fore amazed at the unflinching control he exercised in Munich, his utter unwillingness to flinch at complexities, his ability to dissect the ideological and moral sureties of all sides within the natural rhythms of the thriller genre. There is so much to praise in this film, because it is utterly seamless film-making with a keen eye for every little detail that never reveals the intense precision behind its construction.

While some have found the film "disengaged," I found that it pulled at the viewer's conscience through the central characters, not only Bana's Israeli agent Avner and his cohorts, most of who slowly find themselves gnawed by doubts of their mission's morality and effectiveness, but also smaller characters as well, drawn with indelible deftness—the weary ex-French Resistance fighter now a trader in deadly information to stateless agents because of his cynicism about recurrent corrupt regimes replacing each other, or the PLO operative who debates Palestinian strategy and justification with Avner, who he wrongly believes to be a German left-wing terrorist who is "soft" on Jews because of the Holocaust. The economy of Spielberg's film-making is breathtaking in hindsight, so that what at first seems a relatively flat and emotionless exercise in historical recreation slowly seeps into one's subconscious and then moves upward, in quick bursts of sudden bursts of emotional and intellectual recognition by the viewer. These are real human beings, these are fighters in a war they believe in desperately and whose people have suffered terribly yet can find no real peace.

For this Kushner and Roth's screenplay must get much credit, the crisp narrative development intertwined with intellectually rigorous set pieces and flat-out armrest-clutching actions sequences. John Williams, who has managed to be understated in the past, is equally adept at building (or feinting) tension and subtly commenting on character development. Check out the slightly dissonant piano in the last scene to see what I mean. Longtime Spielberg collaborator Janusz Kaminski creates some amazing framing devices, especially as the action sequences are about to unfold and during moments of intimate conversations imbued with tension. Michael Kahn's editing is crisp and occasionally startling, as in the way the conclusion of the horrifically bungled Munich "rescue" is related. The retelling of the entire event from break-in to conclusion is doled out in bits and pieces in what seems at first an attempt to soften its impact but in the end, entwined as it is with all of the complicated issues, is finally revealed as a masterful means of achieving the fully deserved emotional impact within a complexly rendered ideological, moral and strategic matrix. There is not a false note in any of the acting, and the casting is uniformly spot-on.

About the politics. The radicals on either side will reject the film out of hand because it dares to render both sides as human and worthy of understanding. But attempting to understand choices of violence and vengeance as strategies does not in any way mean condoning them. Certainly, anyone who feels that the film somehow allows a viewer to walk away thinking that Black September was justified in its attack is probably projecting his or her fears about how some imagined uninformed viewer might react. Instead, the film demonstrates that whether one feels either or both sides justified it doesn't manner—neither side can win through violence at this point. This was Yitzhak Rabin's great insight—you don't make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies. His Israeli Jewish murderers wanted violence to continue, believing that only a continued state of war would keep Israel from giving back land they saw as bound up with their faith but which international law, historical study and the basic "facts on the ground" reveal to be bound to be returned to the Palestinians. Ariel Sharon, of all people, came to understand this, though without the larger vision and magnanimity of spirit that his fellow warrior Rabin discovered. Spielberg's message is clear—the extremists will choose war over peace, but must so many of us side with the extremists because of our fear of appearing weak or "giving in"? A last note on politics—there is clear relevance to the United States' current predicament post-9/11. One can almost here Cheney or Bush making the speech made by Israeli premier Golda Meir in the film (an extraordinary piece of recreation that transcends mere imitation), only probably with more moral surety and less sense of resignation. Anyone paying attention to world reaction to Guantanimo, Abu Gharib, the bombing of Afghan and Iraqi villages and the spiriting away of suspected terrorists through "rendition" for torture in "friendly" nations must be aware that whether one leans hard or soft on such matters, there is going to be a price to be paid. The hardliners believe we will just keep punching and slugging and eventually the bad guys will go down; that they will not reproduce themselves like the many-headed Hydra or germinate and reproduce by the thousands in the fetid waters of our perceived hypocrisy—whether you think it justified or not it doesn't matter. As Spielberg makes clear in this film, all that matters in the end is peace or violence, and whoever ultimately desires the former had better be damn sure that their use of the latter is measured by the awareness that it use will create debts that will need to be repaid in the end, and the debtors will most likely be the generations to come on all sides.
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8/10
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
Flagrant-Baronessa14 July 2006
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 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
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9/10
An Outstanding Thriller
Rathko10 January 2006
'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 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.
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8/10
A Half Cooked Masterpiece
marcosaguado23 December 2005
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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Mr. Spielberg's "Prayer for Peace"
lavatch23 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
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 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.
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9/10
Intense, worth every minute
skcummings6 January 2006
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 way that the likes of a George Clooney in Syriana only dreams of.

This is a must see.
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10/10
Best Film I've Seen All Year
je_powers16 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
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 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.
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10/10
Terrorism, Then and Now
nycritic30 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
What should have been an uneventful Olympics in Munich, 1972, became the bloodshed that unfolded like a Moebius strip and unleashed even more blood unto the world. On September 5, 1972, eight Palestinian terrorists killed two Israeli athletes, kidnapped nine more, and asked for safe passage out of Germany and the subsequent liberation of Arab prisoners in Israeli and German prisons. Once at the airport they encountered resistance from the German authorities, and in a scuffle, all of the other nine hostages were killed.

This led to the Israeli government to have the Mossad -- Israel's intelligence agency -- track down and kill every terrorist responsible for the killings. For this they hired one of Golda Meir's bodyguards, known as Avner, put him in a special ops team, and gave them minimal information about these terrorists. Avner on his own is able to strike back at the "supposed" terrorists via the appearance of a shady Parisian named Louie, but as the assignments become more and more difficult, he wonders if it is all worth it, and once his own team gets decimated by counter-agents, he wonders if behind every terrorist there is a even more dangerous one just waiting in the wings with ways to get back at him and his family.

Steven Spielberg is at his best when not directing sci-fi movies. The world of 1972 hasn't changed a bit then from now: when one sees the events of September 11, 2001 (and the World Trade Center inserted into the New York City skyline right at the final scene), and the political interests which led to their horrific unfolding on American soil -- once a concept thought unthinkable -- it becomes food for thought if behind every Saddam, every Osama, there aren't tens, if not hundreds, waiting, with more reasons to hate the Western world for butting their heads in their business. Avner, while a minion of Israel, ponders these things, and is himself terrorized when he comes to America to live a life away from the madness he was involved in: namely, the never-ending conflict between Israel and Palestine, both fighting for what they consider home. As one PLO member effectively says: "Home is all we know."

No right, no wrong, but a grey middle is the prevalent tone in MUNICH. While re-enacting a swift retribution against those who destroy order would be the thing to do, what does it solve? Spielberg doesn't say. What he does do is create an increasing, nail-biting suspense that Hitchcock himself would have loved -- and this film, reminiscent itself of SABOTAGE, is proof that terror and mayhem at the hands of subversives is still a thing of now as much as then and that innocents are always on hand to pay with the intended victims. One sequence, as the foursome wait for their first target to pick up the phone but find that his young daughter has not left the house yet, is incredibly powerful. Another one is when Avner waits for a bomb to go off in the room beside him. Nothing is ever clean and easy in the real world, and even bombers can never really know what to expect from their toys, and all one can do is wait and wait and wait.

MUNICH has strong performances all throughout. Eric Bana is tortured as Avner, a man who only wants to be with his wife and young daughter and cannot escape the horrors he has seen. Geoffrey Rush, Ciaran Hinds, Daniel Craig, Mathieu Kassovitz, Lynn Cohen, Hans Ziechler, Michael Lonsdale, and Mathieu Amalric all supply great support in a well-rounded cast and flesh out great characters in this excellent, if morally ambiguous story.
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Another silly Spielberg fantasy
tieman6420 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"Munich is serious, adult film-making at its most nugatory, and America will never produce political movies of any depth if we reward work of this calibre." - Alan Dale

"Munich" begins on a strong note, Spielberg's documentary camera capturing Black September gunmen as they break into the Olympic dorms and mercilessly gun down a group of Israeli athletes. Like "Schindler's List" and the best bits of "Saving Private Ryan", Spielberg's camera dispassionately and objectively records what it sees. There's no forced storytelling or clunky moralising.

Unfortunately it's all downhill from here, as Spielberg turns what would could have been a riveting docudrama into a simplistic morality tale. Everything about Munich reeks of bad art. Its dialogue is didactic, its pacing is awkward, its flashbacks are jarring, its politics are sanitized, its music is hokey, its characters are cardboard, its plot is completely ahistorical and its "family metaphors" are tedious. Throw in Avner's (the film's lead assassin) forced "moral tragedy", the obligatorily "child in peril sequence", comedic sex and countless needlessly long scenes, and you have Spielberg's most annoying "serious project" since "AI".

When promoting the film, Spielberg said: "The thing I'm very proud of is that Tony Kushner and I did not demonize anyone in the film. They're individuals. They have families."

Yes, there's no evil in Spielberg's world. There's no complex motivation, judgement, ambivalence or scepticism. No understanding of how the world really works. Spielberg doesn't deal with irrational motivation, passionate beliefs, unforgiving rage- all facts of life commonly found in the Middle East. Instead it's all "lets just get along". As a result, there's no real understanding of why the athletes were kidnapped, no talk of Palestinian oppression, or how ideologies are bred and mismanaged.

Not once did I believe that this was how real assassins act, look, talk or behave. The real Avner faced no moral dilemma nor did he question whether or not killing 11 Palestinians was the same as killing 11 Israelis. George Jonas, the guy who wrote Vengeance, even disliked the film. His book was written to justify counter terrorism by showing the evil of, not the Palestinians, but the elite who used patriotism and islamofascism to breed hate among their own people. "Munich" washes it's hands of all that. It's simply content to regurgitate the same clunky message preached in Adam Sandler's "You Don't Mess With The Zohan". IE-"violence breeds violence" and "everyone has a family, so lets chill out baby, because deep down we're all the same!"

But of course if everyone were equal, there would be no conflict. It is precisely inequality and injustice that is the problem. But no, Spielberg romanticises everyone. Far from being an oppressed minority, the Palestinians are portrayed as educated intellectuals and sexy hit women. Similarly, the Israeli's go to great lengths to prevent collateral damage. When they do accidentally kill innocents it's only because the French (those pesky French!) intentionally gave them the wrong explosives. And of course Spielberg's Israeli's aren't stone cold killers and trained professionals. No, they're toy makers and accountants with silly moral dilemmas.

It's all well and good to paint everyone in a falsely positive light, but if you're not going to examine the roots of anything, at least show the evil on both sides. Show some sort of truth. Spielberg says that counter terrorism is just as bad as terrorism, but you can morally justify between counter terrorism and terrorism, the same way you distinguish between war and war crimes. It is possible to say that the Palestinian cause is as honourable as the Israeli cause, but it's not possible to say that terror is as honourable as resisting terror unless the initial terror is portrayed as being rational resistance.

And so the film pretends to be critical of Israel, but in actuality it dare not show the true horrors of Israeli violence. We can see the brutal horrors of the Munich massacre, but we are denied the Israeli violence that instigated it. The end result is that Spielberg turns Avner into yet another Jewish victim, an object of sympathy in a situation in which he is precisely not the victim. In contrast, the Palestinian Other is denied a voice, denied any context, history or motive. The symbolic necessity, as Sartre argued, of targeting the Olympic Games, is thus completely ignored.

The reason Spielberg takes his silly "we're all the same" stance is because he can't bare to paint either side in even the faintest of bad lights. He thinks he's chosen the moral high road, when in fact, by ignoring all truth he's chosen no road at all. The high road is cold objective truth, but Spielberg has always been more interested in sanitizing history by avoiding painful traumas.

But ignoring the philosophy of the film, "Munich" still fails as basic entertainment. It becomes tiresome and repetitive, utilizing an obvious and predictable narrative progression which attempts to show that Avner's growing doubt is proportional to each assassination. Too slow to work as a thriller, the film also fails as a personal tragedy, Avner's inner turmoil never convincingly explained. Thin Spielberg characters are usually not this bothersome, but here their sign posted, theatrical moral monologues come across as obvious and lowbrow.

There are other problems too. Why would a hit-man be so traumatised? Why would he "recollect" events he didn't witness? Of course, by showing the massacre in flashbacks, Spielberg hopes to build to a horrific death/sex crescendo. But it all feels silly. Spielberg's handling of sex and adult relationships has never been good.

4/10- A superficial, safe and self-important fantasy movie, churned out without much intelligent thought. "Paradise Now", "Z" and "The Battle of Algiers" tackle similar material in a much better way. Similarly, see "Day of the Jackal" or "Black Sunday" (anything by mid-period Frankenheimer and Costa Gavras) for Spielberg's "70's thriller" aesthetic done right.
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10/10
Means even more if you watched the tragedy of Munich 1972
penultimate-129 December 2005
I don't think the "perfect" movie has been made yet. I don't know that a masterpiece is necessarily perfect, so, viewers will undoubtedly find faults in this movie, some of which have already been expressed in the comment section. But masterpiece or not, I really liked this movie. It told a particular side of the story and told it well. And if you witnessed any of the tragedy of Munich in the summer of 1972, you feel a connection to the events portrayed in this movie. We, the audience, become a member of the hit squad able to empathize with the angst in becoming assassins with consciences, as collateral damage does matter. But the trouble with trying to maintain a conscience is that each notch on the belt is another slash of your humanity ripped from your soul. You squirm from living in the uncertainty of trusting people you are suspicious of in order to fulfill your mission. You nervously plan the pathway to the next target. You seethe with the frenzy of the kill. You perpetually twitch in the paranoia of becoming the hunted, "sleeping" with one eye open and a finger on the trigger. In the beginning you are swept away by your sense of duty to God and country above all else. In the end you are cynical, angry and afraid about what you have done and what you have become.

There are many other sides of this story. It is left to other movies or media to tell those versions. I won't take this one as a definitive history lesson on the subject. Instead I'll take it as a captivating tale of a struggle of life and death played on a complex stage of geopolitics.
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8/10
A fine effort indeed
filmforum115 January 2006
Just because this film has been attacked by pols and shills, here's my 2 cents. Spielberg manages to set the agenda, and sets it correctly. It is indeed about the antecedents to 9/11, and bravo to Spielberg for taking it on, but not somewhere in Afghanistan, but at its genesis, the squalor of Palestine.

Spielberg's film is an essay on revenge and how hopeless and self-defeating that ancient temptation is. It's brave of Spielberg to say it to us now; brave, too, to paint the avenging Israelis as somewhere below the Angels. Let's be candid: There are harsh sentiments expressed here, by some Israeli characters, that the Evangelical Lobby simply doesn't want aired.

Spielberg's handling of the Bana character is masterful. Noteworthy is how uncompromising it is: this is a man whose identity has collapsed. It's entirely right that his Israeli handler should refuse the Sabbath-meal invitation at the end, realizing that the bonds of the older religion (and pre-Zionist identity) are shattered and meaningless.

Spielberg might have improved this product (some of the dialogues are horribly wooden). But that's not important. That a mainstream US film should go where this film goes is significant. This is a major-minor event in Spielberg's long and luminous career.
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8/10
A thorny piece of recent history…
Nazi_Fighter_David27 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
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 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 minister—dressed as a woman—sneaking into Lebanon and assassinating targets…

The killings are carried out in Rome, Paris, Cyprus, Beirut and Athens…
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10/10
"It's strange, to think of oneself as an assassin." - Carl
MichaelMargetis9 January 2006
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 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)
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1/10
Huh? Did we see the same movie? I have a ton of questions.
jprochazka6 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Americans helped get terrorists over the fence? This is so irresponsible. It's the first of many contrived scenes. • One Jewish athlete holds off eight terrorists at his door so Spielberg can set up tension? He didn't look like the 300 pound gorilla that was historically at that door. • We're supposed to believe that the terrorists were watching the news. The news was US and in1972 there was no Cable, no satellite. What news were they watching? German? We're supposed to believe that the Germans actually broadcast vital sniper positions to the terrorists? Eric Bana's character, Avner, is told he may have to leave Israel for years to finish his mission. Why did Avner move his family to NewYork? There was no good reason except to get his World Trade Center shot. • Jews were not mad at Golda Meir for not negotiating with the terrorists. It's preposterous to even make that claim in the film. Why put American money in a box? Wouldn't they use Deutsch Marks? He was in Germany. In 1972, there was no way to spend US dollars in Europe • Why 6 boxes? Couldn't the money fit in one? Why is his German friend at the lunch meeting where he is going to ask for the names of the people responsible for Munich? Dialogue was so stupid, "If you tell anyone . . . I don't know what I'll do." • Why in the first killing of the terrorists do they look nervous? Wasn't Avner Mossad? He was also a former bodyguard to the prime minister. Now he looks like a scared school boy. What? • No one heard those shots? I've been to Europe; those high arches would have echoed that sound for miles. • Why are they celebrating or rejoicing their killing? These are trained Mossad agents. No? • Why is Avner haunted by the Munich games and have these visions? He wasn't there. • Why would an affluent Parisian Arab like Mohammad Hamshari not have a phone at his desk? • That whole scene with the girl coming back is not only a cheap plot device to pull at our heart strings, it also is totally unrealistic and messed up. If you look closely, it's so messed up they had to drive the car backwards to arrive back in front of the house, otherwise they would have been spotted by Ciaran Hines. I am supposed to believe that the bomb expert, Robert, had to remove two pieces of tape and give Ciaran Hines enough time to run to the car and stop him? Wouldn't he have the key ready to go? • He returns to Israel for his child's birth. Why can't he go home? Obviously, he did. So, what's the drama? Again, why make his wife leave? • His Dad was a war hero, but in prison for his birth? What's going on? • When they have the scene with the hotel bomb, why does he have to be in the next room? The bed spring bomb device tells you when the victim has lied down? • Why does the Arab say he looks like a Swede? Don't Swedes have blond hair and blue eyes? Did I miss a joke? • Bad enough he is in the hotel room next to the bomb, why would he switch off the lamp so close to the door. Wouldn't a trained Mossad agent take precautions? • Why is the only damage to the Couple next door the woman's eyes? How did that happen? • What's up with Louis and Papa? They say they don't work with governments. Who else would want names of the people responsible for the Munich Massacre? Rich Americans? Why? This is RIDICULOUS!! • Why does he want to go to Beirut? Why are they not allowed to go to Arab countries? In Beirut, in the dress in drag scene o Why does everyone get shot in sequence o This scene is full of problems. Why do all these Mossad agents run down stairs in a single file? Why don't any of the Arabs shoot these guys as they are running down the stairs in a single file line? • Why would Louis have the PLO and Avner's team shack up in the same safe house? • Why do they yell their terrorist affiliation to strangers? Why speak English and then German? • Language is all messed up. • Avner's conversation with the PLO guy was terrible. In Greece, why does Hans bring an extra grenade, especially after Robert tells them that they are all old and should be thrown away? Robert says, "I am trained to dismantle bombs, not to make them." THINK ABOUT THIS!!! HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY DISMANTLE A BOMB AND NOT KNOW HO TO MAKE ONE! Why in the middle of the film are all these trained Mossad agents now questioning what they are doing? • Am I the only one that found a Mossad agent sniffing the air for the scent to Carl's door as absolutely ridiculous? He says "I saw her first," walks away, and then, I guess his Mossad secret agent senses kick in, and he comes back to the door. Why did they use Zip air pump guns to kill the Dutch woman? Why not sue guns? o Also, why is it when they're screwing and loading their zip guns, instead of pulling the gun out of the drawer and shoot them, she instead flashes her right breast. This whole scene is ridiculous • Why after Hans is missing do we find him sitting on a park bench? How did we get there? • The rest of the film descends into total chaos with him going crazy, and by this point, I just can't believe this film got a nod for best picture.
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Close Encounters of the Spielberg Kind
tedg8 July 2008
I like to swim more deeply in film than Spielberg. So although he makes somewhat effective films, they leave me wondering why they were made.

Well, we know why this, "Schindler" and "Ryan" were made. Its because after skimming a gazillion dollars by amusing us, this man wants to be seen as a weighty, "real" filmmaker. A Kubrick that likes to occasionally have fun. We all know these films to be made on ostentatiously weighty material, so they must be deep.

I had the highest hope for this one, because I know he was stung by how poorly the others were received by people he trusts. So here, he goes back to his method of "Close Encounters" which was supposed to use New Wave techniques and to circumnavigate what was then new ideas about noir. I liked it. It took chances and where it failed it did so interestingly, even in the more ambitious later cut.

This uses standard (meaning later) Spielberg techniques. Despite his vaunted cinematic storyboarding technique, all the emotional content here is spoken. All the emotional reference is off screen. There are violent acts, but these seen deliberately bloodless, like an Indiana Jones movie would have then, something abstract to talk about. The intended effect was to haunt by the reality that punches through the rationalization. The reality here never gets a chance because its all so movieworld.

That's the problem. He wants to make a film that resonates because it hurts, because it ties knots in us. He just cannot. Its still just a script. Consider the last scenes. These are powerfully written. There are a dozen other filmmakers who could have made them work.

We've been through an entire story to set up the haunting ambivalence in our hero. He is finally able to be with his wife and as he makes love to her, the only think he can see are the hostage deaths not fully shown until this moment, charmed into their horror by human touch. This is followed by her gently caressing the face of her man, accepting all that has come before. If I read this by a good writer, I would be crippled for weeks.

But see how Steven has rendered it. All the pieces are there but the cinematic machine isn't assembled. We have gone all this time, and been set up so well for nothing. I am reminded of "Monster's Ball," which is constructed the same way. Its value is all in the very end, where we have Berre sitting on a stoop in a state of bewildered acquiescence. This could have been more. It was far less, a remote poster.

Good script. I intend to read it and imagine the film that could have been.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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1/10
I never checked my watch more often
pefrss3 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I lived in Munich in 1972, so I wanted to see this movie. I understand that the movie is only loosely based on actual events and the rest is based on a fictional book. I understand that Spielberg wanted to give us a message that violence against violence will create more violence.

But did he have to make that movie so boring? I do not like to see violent movies but in some instances it may be necessary to make a point. But I see no point in showing a bleeding completely naked woman as long as possible, but for some sick gratification. I also found the copulation scene at the end a step in the wrong artistic direction. There was really nothing in the movie which could hold my attention. And I should have been fascinated because I practically knew every location they showed. Maybe Spielberg should think about retiring? I heard that no attempt was made by Spielberg or Kushner to contact anybody who was actually involved in Israel. Why make a movie and use on one side actual material and then make no attempt to try to portray the truth and facts? At least this movie did not get much attention at the Oscar nods.
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9/10
Thought-provoking and filled with emotion
tierra8 February 2006
This movie was just incredible! I didn't know if I would like it, but I'm so grateful that I saw it! It was intense and so filled with emotion. You have to be in the mood for something deep, it's definitely not a light movie. It was like a documentary, with all the news clips and so on. We always see things on the news about the fighting and the hatred, but this movie shows us a glimpse of the actual people who are affected and their emotions. It's not a typical Hollywood movie, at ALL. I didn't even know that it was a Spielberg movie until the very end, and I'm glad I didn't know. It was just such a "real" movie, not fake or dramatic or forced. It was like you were watching a real man going through real experiences, and you never feel like you're taking sides, you just get lost in the hopelessness of it all. Although you feel like the situation is hopeless, you don't feel like the movie was a waste of time, because this is a real conflict in the world, and you just feel a little more informed, and thankful for that. The movie was so interesting and deep, I hope that everyone will go see it.
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1/10
shameful
guenzeld21 July 2010
Having been instructed to sit down and view this film by one of its admirers I prepared myself to be told a good story about an historical event. As the movie unreeled, however, I found I was treated to a shameful falsification of history and what looked more like a propaganda tool for the Israeli government than a true story.

Mr Spielberg began his tale by eliminating a rather telling point: the reason why these militants decided to do what they did at Munich. That reason being the continued unrelenting bombing of innocent civilians in refugee camps by the Israeli military. When people see their innocent loved ones blown to bits they tend to get a little upset and want to have vengeance.

The dehumanizing way the Palestinians are depicted in this film, as if they are nothing but dirt under the fingernails, is sharply contrasted by the hilariously "noble" depictions of the Israeli assassins, even showing their concerned wives and children (do not the Palestinians have wives and children?). After awhile it was simply too much to bear and I felt sullied by having to sit through such rubbish, complete with sex and violence, made by a director who has never been known for taste, subtlety, story-telling ability or good judgment.

I cannot recommend this movie to anyone at all, certainly not to anyone who is interested in the truth of this matter.
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Incredible film with a beautiful message
Dr_Dmitri-Yuriev1 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The film starts off at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. A group of Arab terrorists capture and later murder 11 Israeli athletes. The Israeli community is outraged with the murders and they set out to investigate who planned the massacre, in order to send assassins to settle the score. Eric Bana (who plays Avner) is chosen as the lead assassin and the film takes us on a thrilling, violent and heartbreaking ride watching how Bana and his team accomplish their morbid task and the dangers they go through in order to finish it.

After the film ended, I thought about the reviews that complained it was too cold and detached for their taste. I Don't know why some critics felt nothing because I did care for Eric Bana and his family. At first it's hard to like him for what he's doing, but after we see his remorse, guilt and paranoia(nightmares, trouble sleeping, fear of being murdered) start to kick in as why he's doing what he's doing and if his actions will accomplish anything, I began to care for him. The film also offers great suspense and the haunting score adds depth to it. We know Avner (Bana) is an assassin, he has to kill people and the film builds an unnerving suspense around this; anything can go wrong with the operations and we fear for the life of innocent people such as the target's family or innocent bystanders who have nothing to do with the events in Munich.

Another complain I've seen from a few people is that the film had no point. My guess is they weren't paying attention since Avner (bana) had two discussions with other characters, which clearly show what the film is ultimately about; the discussion with Ephraim (Geoffrey Rush) at the end of the film and the discussion with Ali (Omar Metwally) outside the safe-house. I thought the film was made to show how pointless and absurd revenge can be, that violence cannot bring about peace. Group A kills people from Group B and vice versa, but it doesn't stop there, the slain people are replaced the endless cycle of killing continues. This in effect made the film thought-provoking, it makes you think about subjects you wouldn't normally think of or discuss with other people. Thinking about it fills you with sadness since the events in it are in reality still happening and it's sad to see how the two groups (Jews AND Arabs) don't realize that death and violence will continue if they don't learn to listen and forgive others and let the authorities decide what punishment people should get.
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1/10
An Unqualified Disaster Of A Movie
jinka37 February 2006
The movie can really be summed up in one line that the wife of the main protagonist, Azner, says after just one of the movies excruciatingly painful clichés.

"You're my home", says Azner.

"Stop it, that's corny" she replies and the whole movie is a cliché-ridden, corny abomination. After struggling to prevent myself leaving the cinema within the first ten minutes I found myself repeating just that line in my head as I struggled through the unwieldy and overblown three hours that make up the "Munich" "epic".

The length is pretty incomprehensible and completely unjustifiable as Spielberg goes in for innumerate lengthy pans on the characters faces which reveal precisely nothing (the worst scene being a completely comical flashback scene as Azner has sex with his wife whilst being "haunted" by the events in Munich he didn't actually see) and includes gratuitous panoramic views of nearly every city in the world.

With a terrible script to work from (speaking other languages I wasn't spared from the awfulness of the dialogue in German or French) the actors managed to match it with their delivery. Identification with any of the characters was completely impossible as Spielberg regularly and cringe-worthily tried to dip into the "buddy movie" genre with dialogues between the "crack team" of Israeli operators (about as crack as a WI reunion).

The dinner they enjoyed together with awful banter flowing across the table about being toy-makers or furniture dealers sat very awkwardly with feeble jokes about receipts and the role of the South African (I don't look forward to the next James Bond film if that performance is anything to go by) was a mystery to everyone including the actor himself.

Well, I can't even begin to emphasise how boring, how much of a waste of time and how completely unengaging this film was, but if you liked Troy (also starring Azner as Hector) and other abominations of movies of a similar ilk then run to the cinemas, throw over your money and take in yet another slice of Hollywood tripe masquerading as an artistic and thought provoking work.
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7/10
Spielberg's back with a vengeance
WeeWillC25 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Munich is getting extremely mixed reviews -- from a coronation by Roger Ebert to a trashing from Anthony Lane. My response is somewhere between the two. As a thriller, it is a little predictable for three hours, I accept that. Nevertheless, I've rarely shared a character's (Bana's character's) sense of being hunted before in a movie. Yes, it's a little heavy hitting on the sermonic/moralising side -- but it is Spielberg, and you expect a little didactic direction there. The last scene, with the appearance of the World Trade Center (it's 1972) hammers the 9/11 commentary in a little too much for my liking. For minutes leading up to it, it was obvious that the two characters would end their dialogue with the twin towers in view. I was sitting in the theatre thinking, okay, pan a little more to the right, bring them in ... that's it ... there you go! And then there's the much discussed final sex scene between bana's character and his wife. inter-cut with images of the Munich killings. I interpreted this to be a comment on the endless cycle of violeve: go forth and multiply, the biblical Israel is told, and with every new child is born another subject of generational hatred and the need for vengeance. Others have interpreted this scene more "redemptively" -- new life entering the world, the morning after the darkest night, etc. Overall, it's a good, possibly important, film which misses some opportunities for subtlety and implied comment. Tony Kushner's role seems to have been to polish -- and he had literally only weeks to do that. An original screenplay from Kushner would have improved this considerably. That's not to give the movie a slating: i'd recommend it to anyone, and it has to be considered for some awards. The inevitable controversy in the U.S. about anti-semitism in the film is simply beyond stupid and beyond contempt.
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1/10
Well made but very wrong and one sided
Mankindfails30 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I don't think I say something that you wont know from reading the description of the movie but I prefer putting the spoiler alert just in case.

What if a German had made a movie about courageous Nazi soldiers who bravely pursue and kill few Jews who dared defy the Reich ? Do you think it would have been nominated for academy awards ? (lol)

From my point of view this movie is an insult to the Palestinians who are still struggling to get all that was taken from them ...

This is a good example that history is written by the victors...

If you don't know or care about the Palestinian situation you may enjoy this movie.
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1/10
Wasted opportunity
barrett-2015 February 2006
Sadly, this is a real stinker.

The characters are laughably wooden and the dialogue is excruciatingly hackneyed. In short this is the Yiddish A-Team does Europe, without the humour.

But this is much worse than simply poor entertainment. I believe that when making a film about an historical event the director has an obligation to either portray that event as faithfully as possible or to clearly state that it does not. The film begins with the words "Inspired by real events" which is merely a disingenuous muddling of the fact that this film is a complete fiction. It is not only dishonest but damaging to Hollywoodize history in this way, for both the real people touched by these events and the people who will come away from this film believing it to be the truth.

There were two documentaries about the post-Munich events shown recently on British TV. They were not only far more moving and gripping but told the facts. It was a great story; unfortunately Spielberg wasted the opportunity to tell it.
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