Movie Review - Munich

April 24, 2006
Melody Laila

I did not know of the grave tragedy that took place at the 1972 Olympics before I saw this film. What happened was a group of Arab / Palestinian terrorists known as "Black September" got into the games, killed two Israeli athletes and took nine others hostage. Ultimately all were killed. More details on that here

This movie deals with the Israeli government's reaction to this event, basically through the life of one man Avner (Eric Bana, who plays the role with utter sincerity) who is chosen to lead a group of men to assasinate all of those responsible for planning the attack.

I would probably vote this movie as one of director Steven Spielberg's best works. The plot was brilliant & showed the depths of each character no matter how small the role. It dealt amazingly well with all sides involved in the tragedy & actually made you sympathise with the Jews, sometime with the Arabs, and sometimes with the neutral ones. There is also lots of graphic violence in the film, though given the matter at hand I think it was justified.

The line that stuck out most to me was delivered by one of the main four to Avner (both Jews) towards the end of the film when both their characters had avoided rejoicing over killing their enemies to understanding the greater picture at hand:

"We are supposed to be righteous. That's a beautiful thing. And we're losing it. If I lose that, that's everything. That's my soul."

The point this movie drove home is that with terrorism, no matter how honorable the intentions, ultimately everyone loses.

This is a multiple Oscar nominated film & definitely not a popcorn flick. As I said it's Spielberg at his best & definetely will give you something to think about long after you've left the theatre.

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April 24, 2006
01:52 AM

Melody - Tx for a good review. Have added Munich to the must watch list.

Be that as it may be, I find it mildly disturbing that there are hardly any portrayals of Arabs, esp. Palestinians in mainstream cinema that portray their side of the story. And I'm sure they have many a story. They are always shown as screaming terrorists with a day's growth of beard, clutching Kalashnikovs. It is sadly, a one sided shallow picture, but one that is constantly getting reinforced thru such portrayals.

April 24, 2006
06:35 AM

The movie has a moment when you get to know the story of the other side. A palestinian voices "You don't know what it is not to have a home" and in that instant the movie stops being pro a particular nationality.

April 24, 2006
09:49 AM

@ bevivek: Seeing as you've not seen cinema which portray the Arab side of the story, you def. must watch this one.

There are so many moments where you have things from there point of view. From the mouths of those being killed to the ones who are prepared to continue "till necessary".

@ Richa: You're right the movie isn't pro any nationality though it may appear that way initially. I especially liked it because it seemed to be crying out against the insanity of terrorism.

In Spielberg's own words during an interview for this movie, it's a "Prayer for Peace"

April 24, 2006
11:36 AM

"The point this movie drove home is that with terrorism, no matter how honorable the intentions, ultimately everyone loses."

History also wittness that , terrorism only kills innocent , it can't give the freedom.............

April 24, 2006
01:59 PM

Prime Minister Golda Meir was highly adamant that no concessions be given to terrorists and if the guys die, then they would be considered as national heroes.

Finally, thats what happened.

Long back, I remember reading the article by an Indian journalist who covered that Olympics(India won Gold in Hockey for last time at Muenchen/Munich) and had interacted with some of the slain players just the previous day.

1972 incidents need to be seen from the events that happened in 1967. The Arabs attacked Israel and within a week, they lost so badly that Israel(led by general Rabin) captured full Sinai(thanks to a disobedient smalltime General Ariel Sharon) and also Golan Heights.

Another perspective is that of the role of "British" in the entire conflict. The Arabs and Jews did not have a serious problems before. Its British, who made these guys fight with each other in their divide and rule policy. In the nearby Arab areas they had already put Al-Sauds against Hashemites, who had to flee to jordan in 1850 or so.

So, Al-Sauds in Mecca, Hashemites in jordan, Persians in Iran fighting with each other and hating Turks at the sametime. That was not enough. The British introduced a serious jewish angle to it. The history for next 100 years is almost fixed. And still, some morons blame Bush for it.

April 25, 2006
02:19 AM

@ Swarup: Absolutely. And yet it still exists today. That's the worst thing about mankind, we never seem to learn from our mistakes.

@ sumanth: Did not know all of this stuff. In fact (as I mentioned at the start of the article) even the whole 72 Olympics thing was new to me (perhaps a pardonable offense since I was born much after).

What I do know is that terrorism is never an answer. Two wrongs can never make a right.

December 11, 2006
09:52 AM

This film highly offended Jewish viewers due to its portrayl of the Palestinians as having their perspective, and it highly offended Palestinians and their supporters for the opposite reason. Still, it is an excellent film.

Melody, your review doesn't mention that Munich is essentially a remake of the 1986 film Sword of Gideon, which is based on the book Vengeance by Canadian journalist George Jonas.

My DC review is here:

Also, I hope someone at DC will delete all the spam comments.

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