Munich is a heavy, troubling and good film. From Steven Spielberg, it is a movie that will leave the audience unsure and lost after viewing it. It contradicts itself, with it’s serious subject, intense scenes and incredible amount of filler.
In the aftermath of the infamous Munich Olympics, the Israeli’s approve of a mission to assassinate those responsible. Avner (Eric Bana) is recruited to be the leader of a group of four other men (Daniel Craig, Ciaràn Hinds, Mathieu Kassovitz and Hanns Zischler) as they hunt down 11 targets. Working under Ephraim (Geoffrey Rush), Avner’s team travels around the world searching for vengeance. They all fight psychological and physical battles, particularly the protagonist Avner, who is dragged away from his wife (Ayelet Zurer) and young child.
Munich received praise from the critics and it is not hard to see why. It is a strong film, littered with powerful imagery and smart storytelling. It remains politically even handed, however hard that would have been, choosing to focus on the effects of war on people rather than nations. This allows great emotion from the whole cast, and is well handled by Spielberg. Spielberg is terrific handling the film, adding smart zooms and grainy textures at clever times.
Unfortunately for Munich, the great scenes are lost amongst many confusing and forgettable ones. The female Dutch assassin could have been removed all together, long scenes chasing a certain target are left unfulfilled, considering they don’t kill him. The best scenes are the ones involving the actual hostages during the Olympics, and it almost feels like they have made the wrong movie. The 164 minute running time is far too long for such a serious movie, particularly when character names and identities are tough to decipher.
The acting is solid, Bana definitely puts in one of his finer performances. Shifting from the minimal approach of Avner to a paranoid man unsure how he will live on is well done. However his accent is confusing at times, as with Craig. I’m not completely sure what Craig is doing in this film, he looks out of place and his accent shifts constantly from South African to Australian to James Bond. Kassovitz is good as an nervous children’s toy/bomb maker and Rush is dependable as always. Bana has to carry this film and he does it well, but perhaps one of the things holding it from excellence was the lack of a genuine A-List actor in the main role.
While the powerful theme of Munich is outstanding and the great scenes are genuinely excellent, they are lost amongst the length and multiple dreary scenes. Munich is a film I do not want to sit through again, but it is one I will remember for the things it did right.