"We have 11 Palestinian names, each one of them had a hand in planning Munich. We want them all dead."
Steven Spielberg has always been capable of achieving excellent results when behind the camera. I have been a massive fan of his work for years now and I always anticipate the release of his latest movies.
Munich was a film that I had wanted to see ever since I learned he was at the helm. The film met with major criticism preceding its release because of the short time in which the film was made. Filming began in June 2005 with a December 2005 release date in mind. Spielberg has always been good at making films in a very tight shooting schedule.
While watching the movie I couldn't believe the focus and concentration that is obvious while watching each frame of film that has been produced.
Munich is a riveting, powerful, involving and confronting human drama that is one of the most important films of this century. It was a daring move to produce such a confronting piece of cinema due to how incomplete the facts are; make no mistake, the film is no history lesson. But then again it was never meant to be a documentary. The facts presented may be seen as agonizingly erroneous, but what actually happened will always remain a mystery.
Munich is also a milestone in Steven Spielberg's career. He has been well known for making family-friendly blockbusters that sometimes mirror his childhood. The film represents a step up for maturity in Spielberg's filmmaking.
Based on true events; Munich chronicles the fate of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes who were brutally murdered during the Olympics of 1972 in Munich. In response to the savage massacre the government commissions a group of agents to track down and eliminate those responsible for the tragedy that occurred in the Olympic village that fateful day. The five-man team carry out their mission with the knowledge in mind that they officially have had no contact with those who hired them. The mission is confidential and officially does not exist. As the team eliminate men in the most callous of ways and the body count rises - so do questions, uncertainties and sleepless nights. They begin questioning the justification of the counter-violence and loyalties begin to blur.
Munich is a film that asks a lot of its audience as Spielberg presents questions without answers; offering no easy answers and keeping firm focus on the human response and the conflict between the motivations behind their actions and the consequences.
The tension built up between the characters is insurmountable. Some of the pivotal roles are executed in outstanding style; the accents seem genuine and each line appears to be said with meaning. The film wastes no time getting into the nitty gritty suspense sequences.
Spielberg has also integrated archive footage that gives the film a high level of chilling realism. The beginning events are essentially told through the archive footage presented. And throughout the movie we are shown clips that look in detail at the tragic massacre during which 11 athletes lost their lives. Some of these clips are shown in harrowing realism; startlingly showing brutal violence and heart-wrenching sequences that will have your mouth gaping open.
Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski achieved fantastic results with this film. The action and suspense scenes were filmed extremely well. From the opening sequence I was already engaged in the film; although production was rushed it never feels this way.
John Williams' score creates a brooding, maligned atmosphere that is intense and malevolent. The key suspense scene had me sitting in awe at what was going on.
Munich was a daring film but was executed spectacularly. The film is challenging, pulse-pounding, captivating and involving. The whole film is an extraordinary experience marred only marginally by its over-length. Highly recommended.