Wednesday, February 22, 2006
I almost didn't want to watch Munich after reading some detailed accounts of what happened that early September morn 1972 internet articles posted in the archives of Time Magazine. I would have had the same sentiments if we had internet access before Schindler's List was shown (nudity and breast exposures notwithstanding, I was more interested in the historical aspects of the story). There were some elements in the former that's also present in this one: guts and brain matter fly here and there, exit wounds shown and some delicate scenes between a husband and a wife were shown without cuts. But instead of a reluctant savior sent to save as many Jews as he can this one tells the story of the aftermath of the Munich Olympics murders, about the secret team assembled by Avner (Eric Bana) with the blessings of the government of Israel to go after the Palestinian masterminds in retaliation for the murders of the 9 Jewish athletes.
There's feeling of dread at the start as they went around Europe chasing after leads killing their targets (with the exception of the second target the others were mercifully done with quickly and painlessly) and a pervading sense of depression as the consequences of their actions started to weigh in on their consciences. Unfortunately for them the organization whose leaders they were bumping off one by one was akin to the Hydra monster of Greek mythology, as soon as they cut off one head two new ones sprung out in its place. They also got word from their source that not only were the terrorist acts were being stepped up in Israel in retaliation to their actions but they themselves were also being hunted. They almost succeeded in bumping off almost all the members of Avner's group during the times when they let their guard down. In deference to his family's safety and for his own conscience's sake Avner walked away from his mission with just one target left alive. He's had enough and a lot of questions were going through his mind about right and wrong and it seems the ends don't justifying the means. Despite his Israeli government contact's protestations to reveal everything he knows of the mission so they could go in and continue where he'd left off Avner kept his mouth shut until then. There are questions as to the historical accuracies of the events shown in the movie with regards to the mission but one has to keep in mind that this was a top secret mission and you'd scarcely find any surviving witness willing to talk about what he or she knows about the whole thing. It's a good movie, not really that great-great as Spielberg is capable and could have done much more with it, it's still worthy enough to get an Oscar nod.
* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.