In 1972 at the Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, a Palestinian terrorist organization known as Black September took 11 Israeli athletes hostage and later murdered them. Steven Spielberg's latest film, entitled Munich, tells the story of what happens next.
In retaliation, the Israeli government recruits a group of Mossad (Israeli Intelligence) agents to track down and assassinate those responsible for the attack.
Young intelligence officer Avner (Eric Bana) is approached by Mossad agent Ephraim (Geoffrey Rush) with a mission that will send him away from his pregnant wife and completely erase his identity as he goes underground to track down eleven terrorists involved in the Munich terror.
Avner soon finds himself leading a team of four diverse, highly skilled men. His allies include Steve, a South African with a specialty in cars – namely getaways. Then there's the German Jew Hans, who takes care of paperwork, forging documents and the like, a toy-maker turned bomb-builder from Belgium named Robert and the always-serious, constantly creepy Carl, who takes care of cleanup work, removing bullets from crime scenes and other such necessary acts for a team of assassins.
Eric Bana's performance as the young patriot Avner is remarkable, certainly his best since 2001's Black Hawk Down. Bana's not the only one who gets his acting merit badge, as the whole cast is exquisite, and every scene is immaculately crisp and well crafted.
Spielberg's boldness returns triumphantly with Munich; he reemerges as the risk-taking filmmaker he once was, leaving the safety net he's been wrapped up in the past few years. With that being said, Munich is not the typical happy-go-lucky film we've come to expect from Spielberg. There are several scenes of disturbing violence, which is expected when you cover such a grim topic as terrorism.
Knives stuck in heads, bodies dismembered by bombs, limbs dangling from ceiling fans and a dash of nudity and sexual content give the movie a dismal feel as the theme of "an eye for an eye" plays out before you. The blood and sheer grittiness of the film's content captivates you and lures you deeper and deeper into the essence of human nature and revenge.
Spielberg can't be given all the credit, as Tony Kushner and Eric Roth wrote an amazing screenplay that deals with its characters in great complexity, only adding to Spielberg's already-accomplished style of filmmaking. It's refreshing – inspirational, even -- to see a thought-provoking, insightful film released by a major studio.
"Munich" is a very slow, suspense-building drama. For its 2 hour and 30 minute duration I was on the edge of my seat, completely sucked in. It drains you, but will no doubt leave you greatly satisfied. If you enjoyed the cinematography and value of Saving Private Ryan or Schindler's List then I strongly suggest you catch Munich in theaters.
Adam Frazier drives an El Camino and sports a vicious mullet.