Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Premise: After the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics, a Mossad agent (Eric Bana) leads a team that hunts down those people who planned the attack.
What Works: Munich straddles the genres of the spy thriller, the historical film, and the revenge tale and it manages to satisfy all the genre considerations and in some cases use them to foil one another. This is a film about violence and retaliation and the cost of that retaliation. Unlike many films dealing with terrorism Munich asks all the pertinent ethical questions. The intelligence behind this film and the balance it employs in its political outlook elevates it above any one of the genres it dips into. Eric Bana gives a terrific performance as Avner, the Mossad agent, and as the film progresses his paranoia and moral dilemmas increase. His performance nails the conflicts of the film and deserves recognition.
What Doesn’t: There is not much wrong with the film. Geoffrey Rush appears in a small part that could have been expanded. As Avner’s mission continues he becomes estranged from Israel. Most of this is covered at the end, but it may have been helpful to see that estrangement during the mission.
Bottom Line: Munich is one of Spielberg’s best films. Among his historical films, this may be his masterpiece.
Episode: #80 (January 8, 2006)