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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The tragedy of violence
As other reviewers have said, this is a profound and engaging film that appeals to both your head and heart. I won't repeat the plot, but it does a fine job of making both the Israelis and their targets human, fallible and empathetic. And in this lies the true tragedy of the middle east: that a man who can spent his time translating the Arabian Nights into Italian can...
Published on 10 April 2009 by Roman Clodia

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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SLIGHTLY DISAPPOINTING
There are 2 other films about Munich-21 hours at Munich and the documentary-1 day in September both of which are superior.The script is banal,the acting especially from the leading Mossad agent is wooden,the film is overlong at 2.5 hrs,at least half an hour could have been cut out and then it completely misses the most important event-the accidental shooting of a...
Published on 5 Dec 2006 by S. E. Taylor


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The tragedy of violence, 10 April 2009
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Munich [DVD] (DVD)
As other reviewers have said, this is a profound and engaging film that appeals to both your head and heart. I won't repeat the plot, but it does a fine job of making both the Israelis and their targets human, fallible and empathetic. And in this lies the true tragedy of the middle east: that a man who can spent his time translating the Arabian Nights into Italian can also be a 'terrorist'.

In lots of ways I found this a difficult film to watch and that's as it should be. The violence, when it comes, is always profoundly shocking, as is the human cost. The deterioration of the moral sense is captured perfectly. But beyond all, the final question that the film poses is what should we do? Does condoning violence only serve to exacerbate it? If retribution only does the same then where are we to turn?

It reminded me in some ways of Sophocles' dramas, particularly Antigone where there is no right or wrong solution, only people caught up in impossible situations where the end-point is always death. And yet the very humanity in the struggle to negotiate the moral maze is itself hopeful and I think that's where Spielberg succeeds in leaving this film. So overall a very intense experience but one very worthwhile.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film that needs more than one viewing..., 26 Jan 2008
This review is from: Munich [DVD] (DVD)
I think that people will look back on Steven Spielberg's career in years to come and wonder why this film didn't merit the reaction of some of Spielberg's other "historical epics". It's a good old-fashioned thriller in many aspects, except that this is a plausible semi-factual account of the search for the terrorists behind Black September and the Munich massacres.

The premise is relatively simple, a group is put together, all of them specialists and all of them put under cover by Mossad to seek out and kill the gunmen that escaped from Munich after the 1972 killings of Israeli athletes and coaches at the Munich Olympics on 6th September 1972. However, Spielberg never gets too involved in the "rights" and "wrongs" of this story - you know that he feels sympathy for the innocents who were killed, but he also appears to feel sympathy for both the Israeli and Arab terrorists as people, if not for the bloodshed caused by them.

Spielberg seems to want you to see these men and women capable of murder and of being real human beings at the same time. He never excuses their behaviour - given his own ethnicity, I would have assumed that he would, but he doesn't - and he makes the characters so real and sometimes even warm that you almost forget what they are capable of.

And this is the skill and probably the point of the story, you can never quite forget that they are also murderers. Eric Bana, as he often does, brings another dimension to his character, Avner, and the other lead characters (including the often criticised Daniel Craig - his accent wasn't THAT bad) also show you sides to what otherwise could have been portayed as cold-blooded terrorists.

But it is two French actors who I think deserve special mention: Mathieu Kassovitz who plays Robert, a toy-maker turned bomb-maker and Mathieu Amalric who plays Louis, a "fixer" who works for all of the special and secret service agencies, it seems. Both give wonderful performances.

Finally, Spielberg again pushes the emotional buttons at all points, dropping into the film reconstructions of the terrible events which triggered the events of the film: the massacres at the Olympics. Without even the slightest hint of docu-drama about it, you see the lookalike actors play out the events of that day without the slightest bit of tackiness. It perfectly underlines the tragedy of the whole situation.

Spielberg's modern masterpiece, then, definitely is worth watching. But I have to say on watching it a second and third time, I picked up on so much more detail and I would urge anyone, Spielberg fan or not, to watch it.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly-made film, 27 Mar 2007
This review is from: Munich [DVD] (DVD)
I really liked 'Munich'. The subject matter is so incredibly tragic but the story of the massacre of Israeli atheletes and the aftermath is handled extremely well. The main characters, the five assassins in the group (Anver, Steve, Carl, Hans and Robert), are all excellent and really contrast. Eric Bana is superb as Anver, the team's leader and his performance really humanises the character, despite the things he's done. His love of his wife and daughter and his hopes for their futures are also explored to good effect. Ciaran Hinds is fantastic as Carl, who acts as the clean-up man and moral compass for group. His concern for truth and for evidence to back up the assassinations contrasts with Steve (played by Daniel Craig), who states 'The only blood I care about is Jewish blood'.

'Golda Meir' is truly excellently played by Lynn Cohen, who really captures the leader's shock and despair at the horror of what's happened at Munich; as well as her determination to show Israel's enduring strength. The acting throughout was very good.

The horrific re-telling of the actual events which sparked the targeted killings of Arab intellectuals, political activists and terrorists is told in three vignettes through the film; Avner reflecting on them. In the first, you see the first stages of the operation, before following the media coverage; in the second you get more detail about the first hours of the siege and the attempt to escape with the hostages; in the final one you learn what happened to result in the death of all of the atheletes. This is really effective - possibly done because all together would have been too much.

There's also a good attempt to discuss and understand some of the issues affecting the Middle East. When the team inadvertently meet up with a team working for the PLO, whilst pretending to be members of a European group, it offers an opportunity for Anver to debate the reasons behind their actions; with the Palestinians protesting that he just doesn't know what it is to not have a nation. This theme is also present in the final part of the film, where Avner is talking with his mother; though he hasn't told her what he did, she knows and consoles him by saying whatever it takes at least they have a place on Earth.

I think Spielburg has done a fantastic job with this film. It not only helps to explain and understand the Munich massacres and its aftermath, it also helps to explore the morality behind the unending violence and revenge. In showing the effect it has on the characters, with Avner appearing to lose hope in any future peace through these means, it leaves one thinking there has to be forgiveness on both sides for peace.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You're ordinary, ''You're not a Sabra Charles Bronson.", 13 May 2006
This review is from: Munich [DVD] (DVD)
It's thought provoking, it's balanced and director Stephen Spielberg doesn't waste anytime getting to the heart of the issues or the action. Munich works on a number of levels as an audacious political statement, a tense thriller, and an inspiringly brutal look at two peoples forever caught up in a cycle of violence, constantly drowning in a sea of their own blood.

It's a bleak vision and Spielberg carries it off beautifully, providing us with a clipped and tight back-story, where the Palestinian terrorists invade the Olympic village in Munich, killing two members of the Israeli team and taking another nine as hostages.

The Israeli response is swift and fast with Prime Minister Golda Meir (Lynn Cohen) authorizing a top-secret assassination campaign which will carried out by the security agency Mossad, aimed at wiping out those who had planned the attack. It is left to the hunky Mossad agent Avner (Eric Bana) to emotionally and strategically shoulder most of the burden.

The team is a seemingly innocuous and innocent mix. Daniel Craig's Steve is the group's impulsive hard-liner, a strapping Israeli itching for reprisal, often clashing with Ciaran Hinds' Carl, the cleanup man. There's a sweet-faced bomb expert named Robert (Mathieu Kassovitz), and a thoughtful muscleman (Hanns Zischler).

As Avner cooks dinner, they all get to know one another, hashing out the fine details and the boarder implications for themselves and for the Jewish state. And so the methodological killing begins, yet as Munich progresses, what remains of certainty vanishes, replaced by a thousand conflicting agendas.

This is a world where the rule of the law is superfluous and where allegiances are none, the only constants are mistrust, paranoia, and the need to find more names, which inevitably comes at a price. No one is ever who they are, a drunk on the corner may be CIA, or KGB or the seductress at the hotel bar might be a hit woman.

Spielberg wisely avoids any soapbox speeches, but he does allow his characters to present both sides of the argument: At a safe house in Athens, Avner is confronted with a young Arab who tells him if the desperate need for a Palestinian homeland, a place they can call their own. And back in Israel, Avner's mother tells him that Israel is their land, finally they have a home and they will fight to keep it.

In Munich the themes are universal - the moral imperatives of violence, and in what circumstances can one justify such senseless murder. As Avner and his colleagues continue their operation, they become psychologically immune to it all. Yes - the operation may be successfully carried out, but how long will it be before righteous anger - the anger of the Israelis - can be continued before stumbling into bloody-mindedness? The irony is that in demonizing these Palestinian terrorists, they are themselves acquiring similar gruesome aspects.

It's all about the cycle of violence, a common problem that has plagued the Middle East for generations and will probably continue to do so. Munich deftly shows that everyone has their reasons for hating the other side - whether it is religious intolerance, or the fight over land rights - everyone ultimately thinks they're right, but such a stalemate can never be broken by killing people whatever side of the fence you are on. Mike Leonard May 06.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Disturbing, 14 Nov 2006
This review is from: Munich [DVD] (DVD)
Strong performances by the entire cast and I think casting Eric Bana as the main character was pure genius. Just looking at the external character without even looking on the inside it is sad to watch something so beautiful become so distorted and ugly. A dark, disturbing story about a time that I was to young to remember. I never want to see this film again as I found it so harrowing. War is an ugly business but when fuelled by revenge it destroys so many lives that you begin to question whether it is worth it; using religion to support your behaviour is sad and disturbing, which I feel is the lesson here: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth will only leave this us eyeless and toothless. I would ask everyone to see this film because despite its dark historical story it is very applicable to the times we live in today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pointlessness and Price of Revenge, 2 Sep 2008
This review is from: Munich [DVD] (DVD)
Be it Israeli secret service agents hunting down Arab terrorists - the story of the movie - or one country invading another country to dispose a dictator or hunt a terrorist, the morale of the story is the same: revenge eats you up until you are indistinguishable from the thing you are fighting.

And to add irony to injury it does nothing but breed more revenge in return.

This is a very good movie about an important historic event and a good lesson we need to learn again and again. It is not a comfortable thing to watch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A response to terrorism that many nations would like to do?, 26 Dec 2007
By 
LXIX (scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Munich [DVD] (DVD)
I put this DVD on late at night with the intention of watching half of it and then returning to it the next day or so, however I ended up sitting up late and watching it all (two and a half hours).

Based on 'historical fiction' the film loosely tells the tale of 'Operation Wrath of God' - the Israeli government's response to the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

Eric Bana (Avner) is the central character and the film tracks the gradual toll that the punishing schedule of assassination takes on his mental wellbeing.

Interestingly, there are occasions when the Israelis agents and the Palestinian radicals are at close quarters and get on as well as anybody on a personal level (e.g. on a balcony in Cyprus and in a 'safe house' in Athens). At the end of the day, people are people - but sadly these individuals are at the centre of a long-running and complicated conflict.

Both sides have their political say in quieter moments in the film: the Israeli view (that Israel is small, their only 'home' and a safe haven from anti-semitism - especially after Hitler and World War 2) and the Palestinian view (that they are landless and wandering, and in effect victims of post World War 2 politics, even though that conflict had nothing to do with them).

Overall, this is an engrossing film. Some Western democracies would probably like to respond to terrorism the way Israel and Mossad did, but they are greatly constrained by the 'rule of law' and no death penalty (so can't risk getting caught at the highest level). This gives the film a 'Death Wish', street justice, eye-for-an-eye undertone.

You also get a strong sense for the murky world of the secret services and the fact that no one knows who to trust - Mossad, the CIA, the KGB and shadowy informers who play them all against each other and sell information for financial gain. This is particularly the case when the team kill a KGB agent in Greece (caught up in a shoot out) and thereafter the hunters also become the hunted.

There's an interesting scene where Avner expresses the personal view that for every terrorist he kills another, more radical one, will simply take his place. Poignantly, in the background, the World Trade Center is clearly visible (as it is mid-1970's New York).

Once again, another great perfomance by Eric Bana (it's hard to believe this guy was also 'Chopper' in the film of the same name). Likewise, it was interesting to see Daniel Craig before he became Britain's 007 (he's actually the most radical within the Israeli group).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Morality of political assassination, 16 Sep 2007
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This review is from: Munich [DVD] (DVD)
Spielberg's film took a lot of criticism on it's release in the USA.With the jingoistic fervour of the US right wing post-September 11th 2001,any film that dared criticise anti-terrorist operations,or showed the slightest hint of sympathy for critics of revenge attacks was bound to be attacked.
Watch the film and judge for yourself.It's based on a book by an Israeli who (supposedly) participated in the death squads sent to Europe by Golda Meir after the Black September attacks on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.At first,it all seems so just and logical;kill known PLO players in Europe who were linked to the Munich operation.Then,it starts to get messy-uninvolved civillians are caught up in the attacks,members of the Israeli death squad are killed,and they finally find out that one PLO figure,Ali Hassan Salameh(killed by an Israeli car bomb in Beirut in 1979)is actually being protected by the CIA.Israel's major ally is collaborating with Israel's worst enemy.
At the end,the disillusionment is clear-have the anti-terrorist operations done any more than kill a few Palestinians whom the PLO easily replaced.Is there any intrinsic moral difference between PLO attacks on Israelis and Israeli attacks on the PLO?In the end,one of the Israeli operatives seems more afraid of Israeli intelligence than of the Palestinians,the anti-terror operation has totally backfired.
Given the patriotic hysteria in the USA after 11/09/01(yes,I'm European,not American,so why should I have to say"9/11"?),Spielberg was very brave to make this film.He is pro-Isreali,but the Palestinians who appear in the film are not cliches of evil terror,and he is far from blind to the brutality of anti-terror operations,even if you agree with them.
If there's any message in this film,it seems to me to be that the world is very messy and complex,that things done with the best of intentions can lead to dire conclusions,and that you have to be prepared to reevaluate your ideas and admit you were mistaken when faced with the evidence of the error of your ways.Perhaps that's why the right wing flagwavers in the USA hated this film so much.Only 4 stars as it's too long,it could have done with more rigorous editing.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Confucius was right, 25 April 2006
This review is from: Munich [DVD] (DVD)
When Confucius wrote "before you embark on a journey of revenge, first dig two graves" I wonder if he'd seen the script to Munich. Trite I know, but in this most recent of Steven Spielberg's offerings, the old Chinese proverb rings true. In this marvellously crafted tale we see a fictionalised account of the aftermath of the murder of eleven Israeli atheletes during the 1972 Munich Olympics. We see the response - Mossad sending a message to Black September. Avner (Eric Bana) hunts the surviving terrorists and Black September instigators of the atrocity, and along with his team suffers the consequences of the revenge message.

The production was located, propped and costumed magnificently - I truly believed that I was looking at the seventies, and it was so consistent across international locations.

If I had a criticism, it would be that the movie is too long, but that is just a personal opinion from someone who can't sit still for that amount of time. The DVD will mitigate this somewhat as I could at least hit pause and take a comfort break.

An excellent movie, not necessarily telling the tale like it actually happened, but thought provoking and replete with fine performances.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful and intense story of political violence., 7 Dec 2007
By 
P. B. Hall "Ben Hall" (West Sussex, UK.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Munich [DVD] (DVD)
This is not, as the title suggests, a film which focusses on the terrorist attack which killed a large part of the Israeli team at the 1972 Olympic games. This event is featured only at the opening of the film, and later in short flashbacks. One member of the Olympic team is even played by his own son.

This is the semi-fictional story of an Israeli hit squad assembled to carry out revenge assassinations of targets across western Europe. The result is absorbing and convincing. Early 70's Israel and multiple European locations are recreated with glorious attention to detail; with accurate interiors, clothes and street scenes packed with period cars, lending the film and almost documentary feel at times.

The subject of assassination is treated with emotional realism too. The essentially civilised Israelis, all with 'normal' day jobs, although utterly convinced of their purpose find themselves increasingly traumatised by the murders they carry out, often against targets who appear quite harmless and decent, and frequently endangering the lives of innocent bystanders.

This is a film about the nature of political violence and its ultimate futility. There is a clear subtext which refers to the present-day post 9/11 situation and the 'war on terror'. This reveals itself, perhaps a little clumsily, in the closing shot of the film.

Overall, an excellent film, though with some weak spots. In particular, a sub-plot concerning a mysterious French mafia family, from which the agents buy information about their targets. This seems contrived and detracts from the otherwise successful realism of the rest of the story.
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Munich [DVD]
Munich [DVD] by Steven Spielberg (DVD - 2006)
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