Friday, 20 July 2007

Munich - Dir. Steven Spielberg (2005)

"The darkest day in Olympic history, September 5th, 1972." The film is obviously about the '1972 Massacre'. For anybody who hasn't heard about this event, during the 1972 Olympics in Germany, 8 Palestinian 'Black September' members climbed into the Olympic Village before taking hostage, and eventually killing 11 Israeli athletes.

While the film centres more on the Israeli retaliation, where they hired groups to remove individuals thought to have masterminded Munich. Avner (Eric Bana) an Israeli Mossad Officer and four other men (including Daniel Craig and Ciaran Hinds) are hired to travel around Europe and 'take out' Black September members and sympathisers who may have helped plan the attack. Until eventually the hunters become the hunted.

I had mixed views before I was going to see this, because instantly I thought. Spielberg is Jewish, this film centres around Israeli/Palestinian relations, obviously it will be biased in some way or another, but I was dually surprised to find this film not taking any sides to an extreme point, just relaying the hard facts on top of an underlying deep moral message.

The opening sequence is typical Spielberg, a quick violently sequence showing you the horror of Munich and the hell the Israeli's viewed. Setting a harrowing tone for the rest of the film. While the ending is a confusing mixture of the events and a strong emotional period.

Eric Bana was a brilliant choice for the leading role. He projects his emotion into the audience as he struggles with the guilt of murder and the fact he has been turned from a father of a newborn child into a relentless perfectionist killing machine. Ciaran Hinds is also great as the emotionless 'cleaner' until the pressure of the job clearly gets through to him and his true colours are shown.

Credit also has to go to the Scriptwriting team of Tony Kushner and Eric Roth. A slick and thoughtful screenplay which gives the film an extra leg to stand on. While the most notable scenes are the ones involving the assassination attempts as perfectionism is trying to be achieved.

One thing that got to me was the running time. This film runs for around 2hrs 33mins and could've easily been edited to around 2hrs 10mins as some of the scenes add little to the overall story except for boredom and confusion.

This is an intelligent film by an intelligent director that portrays just one 'fight' in a longstanding battle between the Israeli's and Palestinians.

By Jordan