Opening 26 Jan 2006
Writing credits: Tony Kushner, Eric Roth
Principal actors: Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Ciarán Hines, Mathieu Kassovitz, Hanns Zischler
In 1972 the world was shocked and aghast with horror when at the Olympics in Munich eleven athletes from the Israeli team were taken hostage and then savagely murdered. This is where Steven Spielberg’s gripping tale Munich begins. Soon after the tragedy Avner (Eric Bana) is recruited by the Israeli government to lead a team of five tasked to hunt down and assassinate members of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September who were supposedly responsible for the atrocity. One by one Avner’s team finds and eliminates the names on their list. But soon the hunters become targets themselves, and we see the immense psychological toll of the game. Murder leads only to more murder, every violent act begets another which is even more violent, and every death results in a replacement who is even more unscrupulous. We quickly see how senseless the unending cycle of violence is.
The acting in this film is superb and there is plenty of action to keep the viewer on the edge of his or her seat, though the film can be a bit difficult to follow if one wasn’t yet alive at that time or doesn’t have much previous knowledge about the event. Despite that, I think it is the sign of an excellent film when one can empathize with cold blooded murderers. The assassins on both sides aren’t portrayed simply as killing machines, but as humans with wives and children whom they love, who are capable both of good and evil, fighting for what they believe in most: home. How appropriate for Spielberg to produce this film now; when not by chance many parallels can be drawn when comparing the world post Munich and post 9-11; for Munich is not a film without a moral. (Shauna Keeley)