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Review: MUNICH

 

"MUNICH is a mirror. You see the year 1972 with the eyes of 2006!" - GreekGeek

 

 

Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Screenplay: Tony Kushner, Eric Roth based on the book „Vengeance“ by George Jonas
Cast: Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Geoffrey Rush, Mathieu Kassovitz, Hanns Zischler, Ciaran Hinds
Produced by: Steven Spielberg

Director of Photography: Janusz Kaminski, ASC        

Edited by: Michael Kahn, ACE                                

Music by: John Williams

Running Time: 164 min.

German Release Date: 26.01.06

Distributor: UIP

 


 

1972. The year I was born. The Munich Incident is one of my earliest memories. As long as I remember, I know this story, told to me by my mother. She just came to Germany in the early 70’s and could’t barely speak nor understand German. She saw it on the news and perceived everything visually.

 

The Olymic games are very important for the Greeks. The Terrorist Attack at the Games was an attack on everything a Greekk stands for – freedom, democracy and the olympic spirit. Again, after an eon long period of fights between Greeks and any kind of Islamic Race, the muslim fundamentalists trembled on everything that was important to our culture. This time, once more, including innocent athlets.

The pictures of Munich are, since then, burned in my mind. Every time I think of the “evil” in our world – I automatically think of Munich 72. And now, my favorite Filmmaker of all time, Steven Spielberg, takes that incident and continues that story.

 

 

Around the world, critics are bashing the film from every angle. Some say the film is too pro Palestinian, others it’s too pro Israel. Some thing the Terrorist are to human (?!?!) because Spielberg gives them human faces. Yes, Spielberg maybe showing their fears and their cluelessness but it doesn’t change the fact (in the film too) that they remain MURDERERS. They kill innocent athlets at a peace event. If they do had a reason for this or not – they are cold blooded killers. And this fact doesn’t get changed throughout the progress of the story, as some wise-cracking-history-know-it-all-critics think as their interpretation. There are parallelisms: how do you feel as an assassin? The main characters are asking themselves if they are doing the right thing, if they are breaking the law and if they lost the pure meaning of being Jew - How Israel had, throughout the last 30 years, to change responding to such inhuman acts.

 

There is a shot of Avner (Eric Bana) on the balcony of the Olympic Hotel in Cyprus. His team is preparing the elimination of one of the man behind the Munich Attacks. The shot of him standing on the balcony is very reminiscent of the infamous shot of the masked Terrorist on the balcony in Munih at the Olympic Village.

Coincident? My Misinterpretation?

I don’t think that anything in this particular movie is coincident. Here’s another Interpretation of Misinterpretation of mine: When the Terrorists, at the Olympic Village, try to climb over the wall to get to the Israeli Athlets: they get help from other athlets who think of them as colleagues. They help them to climb over the wall to get to their “target”. The “helpers” are US-Americans.

Coincident? My Misinterpretation?

Maybe. Everyone walks into this movie with his own assumptions. And this hass to be that way, because Spielberg just puts a mirror in front of us. He tells the story and we set the turning points, exactly as we think – as we believe.

 

MUNICH is a dirty, honest, 70’s picture. Janusz Kaminski’s work is one of his best. There are many techniks of that era used, but they are never a fun gimmick. They just tell the story. Spielberg finally gives us his 70’s Film, he didn’t gave us in the 70’s. In 30 to 40 years from now, audiences will think (as long as they don’t know that the movie was shot in 2005) the movie is from the time when Coppola made his CONVERSATION and SCORSESE his MEAN STREETS. You can’t even say that MUNICH is the most eupropean film Spielberg made, because, since the beginning of 2000, Spielberg shoots just Spielberg movies. The are the best of both worlds. His “Man-on-the-run” Trilogy (A.I., MINORITY REPORT and CATCH ME IF YOU CAN) is packed with Truffaut Moments: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN is very often THE 400 BLOWS and MINORITY REPORT is a kind of FAHRENHEIT 451. Truffaut himself had a part in Spielbergs CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND und actors from Truffaut Films (Nathalie Baye THE GREEN ROOM is in CATCH ME IF YOU CAN and now Michael Lonsdale, THE BRIDE WORE BLACK and BAISERS VOLES in MUNICH) are now in some of his movies. So you have to search for the new millenia Spielberg in the european New Wave Films. Not only because he made the 70’s Europa feel so real in MUNICH. The Film was shot, in most parts, on Malta, but Cyprus, Athens, Amsterdam, London and Paris look like the citys they used to look in the 70’s. Even a little Hitchcock is in form of TOPAZ in MUNICH.

The excellent cast of MUNICH is another big plus. Eric Bana shows once more how multi-layered he is and Daniel Craig proves to be a very dangerous and ruthless choice of the 007 producers. Every supporting actor is perfectly cast, especially Geoffrey Rush, who (imho) acts his part like Peter Sellers would, had he be cast in the role. (Man, his Peter Sellers performance was very good!!!)

The Music of John Williams is very reminiscent of his music of the 70’s. The music is used very sparesly. Some scenes are so masterfully “composed” that you don’t realise that there isn’t any music, at all. The main theme is haunting and the theme of the Munich incident shattering.

 

MUNICH is one of the most important movies of the last ten years. There will be many debates about it’s accuracy and it’s meaning. And everyone will use his own assumptions.

The last image of MUNICH really brings everything to a point: It doesn’t seem to be, by far, the end of the problem. And here we realise that Spielberg uses his (our) knowledge of our present to tell a story from a long, past, current time.

 

greekgeek 2006


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Filmography

  • MUNICH (2005)
  • WAR OF THE WORLDS (2005)
  • THE TERMINAL (2004)
  • CATCH ME IF YOU CAN (2002)
  • MINORITY REPORT (2002)
  • ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (2001)
  • SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998)
  • AMISTAD (1997)
  • THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK (1997)
  • SCHINDLER'S LIST (1993)
  • JURASSIC PARK (1993)
  • HOOK (1991)
  • ALWAYS (1989)
  • INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989)
  • EMPIRE OF THE SUN (1987)
  • THE COLOR PURPLE (1985)
  • INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984)
  • E.T. - THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL (1982)
  • RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)
  • 1941 (1979)
  • CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977)
  • JAWS (1975)
  • THE SUGARLAND EXPRESS (1974)

 

 

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