Friday, January 7, 2011

Munich - an outstanding movie

I'm no collector of movies. I have a total of three. I've always thought that once seen, a movie is very unlikely to be watched again so why take up shelf space with it?

Spielberg's Munich is an exception. Made in 2005 and starring Eric Bana, the film follows the mission of a group of Israelis assigned the task of revenging the killings of the 11 Israeli Olympic athletes at Munich in 1972.

Bana's character is introduced to us as a carefree young man about to be a father and unquestioningly devoted to the country of his birth - Israel. Assigned to be the leader of what can only be called a death squad by Golda Meir's government, he rides herd over a fascinating collection of fellow Jews with widely varied backgrounds and views.

As the plot unfolds, and the assassinations proceed, we see the effect it has on each of the team members. Far from being a gung-ho endorsement of revenge, as are so many movies, Munich shows us the cost of killing on those who kill and the tit-for-tat nature of serving out death and having it come back in return.

With intelligent dialog throughout and filled with the kind of unpredictable events that throw kinks into even the best laid plans, this movie provides relentless suspense that doesn't let up even in the final scenes.

Neither side comes out shining and the change in Bana's character from beginning to end is wrenching. The transformation of the way others view him is equally compelling. Munich is a tragic masterpiece upon which the ancient Greek masters could not improve. It should be seen by everyone, but particularly by Israelis and Palestinians. It isn't for children - the violence is appropriately bloody and appalling. It will leave you emotionally drained but something significant can be learned from it.

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