10 January 2006
“Every civilization finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values!”—George Jonas/Tony Kushner/Eric Roth
The greatest aspect of Munich is not the visual treat that you see inside the dark theatre for over two hours; but the questions it raises, after you have experienced it!
Are you really civilized if “Revenge” is the path you take for the salvation of your country?
Does the phrase “One man’s Freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist!” hold true?
When survival is at stake, do the methods of how you get out of it matter?
You struggle with these questions and there is no one right answer!
The movie starts with the incident in Munich in 1972 Olympics where 11 Israeli athletes are held hostage by Palestinian Terrorist group called ‘Black September’ and later assassinates them while most of the people involved escape Scott free! The Mossad (Israeli Intelligence Agency) hires Eric Bana to lead a team of 4 to hunt the people involved and kill them.
The first part of the movie is about the killing of each member of Black September involved (?) in Munich as the team hunts down one after another in the list using varied methods. You join in the team’s adventure and enjoy the thrill ride as they move from one city to another.
The director lets you get into the skin of these characters without compromising the length. You feel the struggle of Avner(Eric Bana) as he battles between his time with pregnant wife and the obsession of the job to be done; You get a glimpse of the camaraderie and bonding between the team members; the irritating nature of Carl (Ciarin Hinds) who questions the validity of the list; Robert’s (bomb specialist- Mathew Kasovitz) battle between his religion and the things he is doing; the craziness of Steve (Daniel Craig) who just wants to kill Arabs and the calmness and wit of Hans (Hans Zischler). You also get a very interesting scene when Avner meets the man who is supplying him the location of the people in the list!
Just when you think, the movie is slowing down, there is a magical scene between Avner, a lady in bar and Carl. And it hits you immediately; the story has taken a sharp turn. Fear sets in. It is not a one way street anymore. And it is in this fear that sometimes, you are clear about who your friends are. Most importantly, who are not your friends! There is another poignant scene when Avner and his team have to share a room with PLO fighters who are with the very men they are going to kill. You realize, both sides are fighting for a feeling of “Home”!
The last part of movie is where you see the genius of the script or cinematic manipulation, depending on which side of the equation you are. In a weird, strange way, you sympathize for the assassins of the Black September in those final moments in Airport of Munich where the innocent Israeli Athletes were killed. You can see Spielberg taking over those portions in his inimitable style of personalizing an external event with personal touch that is universal. As a viewer you can’t help but wonder how someone can forgive oneself from the horrors you have committed, where you have been dragged in the name of religion and homeland, fighting for a cause, for an ideal using any methods that will serve their purpose!
There are several characters in this movie that just deserves a huge applause purely for their ability to become those characters. First one among them would be Eric Bana, an Australian who becomes a complete Israeli for the role. Geoffrey Rush, another Aussie, displays a huge range and control as Ephraim. Ciarin Hinds, an Irish, who fits into the role like a glove. The final credit for one of the best supporting role is Ayelet Zorer, an Israeli, who plays Eric Bana’s wife. She does it with such compassion,love,intelligence and screen presence, that in the end , you truly believe, without her, there is no redemption for Eric Bana!
Munich is an experience!