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Monday, February 06, 2006

Munich (2005)

After being disproportionately "tamed" as Hector in Troy and grossly caricatured by Ang Lee in Hulk, Eric Bana came out a respectable actor in Spielberg's suspenseful drama Munich.

The world was shocked when 11 Israeli athletes were massacred at the Munich Olympics. 11 Palestinian were believed to be behind the killings. A secret Israeli squad, the Mossad, enlisted Avner (Eric Bana) to head a team of experts to track down and kill the killers. What initially started as a simple "mission" from above became a senseless carnage and proved to be a psychological torture on Avner and his men. Working incognito, Avner had to enter the dangerous world of international syndicates to ferret his suspects. His French informant, Louis (Mathieu Amalric), seemed to be working as a double agent and had put his mission in great peril. Even his boss, Ephraim (Geoffrey Rush), looked unbelievable. Nevertheless, Avner had to trust even some perceived enemies to accomplish his goal. But at what cost, the film Munich brilliantly and poignantly depicts.

Spielberg did an amazing feat in this movie. What I first thought would be an anti-Palestinian propaganda ended up indicting even the Jews. Spielberg was so unrelenting and utterly convinced that war, terrorism and vengeance are the three worst evil on earth and that the violence that we inflict on other people is violence done to us and to our own children.

Munich is a good example of a film that should be made a viewing requirement for all students and all people. Like what he did in Schindler's List, Spielberg, exposes the inhumanity and evil in people who think that they and only they have the Truth on their side. Noteworthy in the movie is how Spielberg did not spare even his fellow Jews who think that killing other people who kill/ed their own people is a justifiable act. Avner 's mother (Gila Almagor) was very proud of his son's "accomplishments" and was heaping praises on him as the long awaited avenger of the oppressed Israeli people. But Avner knew that killing was wrong and would not accept even his mother's justification.

The movie, while it shows the tender and compassionate side of the Israeli assassins, does not glorify nor justify their acts. And for this, Spielberg ought to get credit. Over-all I find the movie moving and immensely powerful.

The Fanatic Verdict: "Bravo Spielberg!"


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