Munich (2005)

DailyView: Day 216, Movie 303

Steven Spielberg is one of the greatest directors of my lifetime. Of any lifetime, actually. He is a master at his trade. Spielberg is capable of turning any genre into a classic film. Science fiction? Adventure? Horror? Thrillers? He can do it all.

Back in 2005, Spielberg directed a film that wound up being nominated for several Oscars and yet it was one of the few Spielberg films that is criminally underrated. If you were listing off Spielberg movies, how long would it take you to reach Munich?

Munich is a historical thriller that tells the story of a group of assassins organized by the Israeli government to track down and kill the 11 terrorists from the Palestinian organization Black September responsible for the horrific events during the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics where members of the Israeli Olympic team were murdered.

Although the Israeli government denied their connection, Avner Kaufman (Eric Bana) led the group of four Jewish men with specific skills in the attacks on the terrorists. However, the group had reservations about exactly what they were doing with arguments among each other between missions.

Daniel Craig played Steve, a South African driver. Mathieu Kassovitz played Robert, the toy maker who was also a bomb expert. Ciarán Hinds played Carl, the former Israeli solder and ‘cleaner’. Hanns Zischler played Hans, the forger. Geoffrey Rush was in Munich as well as the go between with the team and the Israeli government.

There are some tense moments in Munich and the last act of the film was truly the best part. Seeing how the events that occurred and the knowledge of what the group had done burrowed into the mind of these characters is fascinating. Eric Bana does exceptional work. I have never been a huge fan of Bana, but this is easily one of my favorite performances of his.

I did think Munich a a tad long and could have used with some fewer moments in the first two acts, but that third act pay off is very strong.

This is based on a book Vengeance by George Jonah, who recounted the Israeli Operation Act of God in retaliation of the events in the Munich Olympic Games. There have been some questions raised about the authenticity of the book in historical accuracy, but that does not mean anything. This is not a documentary and total accuracy of the events is not a requirement.

Spielberg continued to show his directorial skills that cross so many genres. Munich is another example of his talent that simply can not be denied. He is one of the greatest directors in movie history.

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