Friday, February 24, 2006


Understanding Violent Conflict

By Reymundo Salao

Set in the aftermath of the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, the story follows a secret Israeli squad assigned to track down and kill the 11 Palestinians suspected to have planned the Munich attack--and the personal toll this mission of revenge takes on the team and the man who led it.

The film was very careful to open the film by saying “Inspired by real events” because until the secret files open up legitimately, nobody will really know or confirm the events that transpired in this movie. This film is based upon George Jonas’ book “Vengeance”. And this film project was denied by Spielberg thrice before he finally agreed to direct it later on. MUNICH is a very intelligent mixture of Cold-war politics, drama, espionage, and an age-old conflict that carries with it a legacy of hate and vindication. The film centers its storyline on a secret mission of the Mossad, which is the Israeli spy network, to eliminate the key members of the Black September, the Arab group responsible for the Munich massacre.

Spielberg captures the essence of the 70's even with the entire cinematographic look of the film. This movie seems to employ the kind of film that is used in the 70's; its grainy and high-contrast quality; to the point that it really feels like watching an old movie made in the 70's. Although that is not anymore a new technique among other filmmakers, it does have that Spielberg touch of intelligent drama. That which never ignores the more serious point-of-view of the characters. And running at almost three hours, the movie employs a rich sense of character development.

Without a doubt, Eric Bana, who is indeed one of those new actors that are reaching a very respected high profile level of being an actor, fit to be considered as one of the gold standards, is the lead character of this film. He seems to remind me of how Liam Neeson broke through with his reputation when he starred in "Schindler's List" which was also directed by Steven Spielberg. Also among its rich cast are the very respected Academy awards winner Geoffrey Rush as government agent, Ephraim, there's also the wickedly cool Daniel Craig (who is confirmed as the next James Bond) as Steve, and Ciaran Hinds (best known for his lead role in HBO's ROME mini-series) as Carl, the clean-up artist.

This film has struck controversy, not only because according to many critics, it seems that Spielberg was becoming all too-ultra-pro-Jewish (well, you can’t really blame him for that, he is, after all, Jewish, isn’t he?) and also because critics judge this film to be a work that is seemingly pro-terrorist. Sure, a large chunk of the main storyline involves the drive of vindication; the seemingly heroic and patriotic duty of carrying out the message of death and destruction upon those who are enemies of the country you swore to protect. Understandably, many will misinterpret it as a glorification of hatred and violent vengeance. But ultimately, the movie will later make the effort to make audiences realize that all the acts of violence that were committed seemed to go nowhere; fruitless; empty. MUNICH is a very serious movie of deep, thought-provoking impact. Another instant classic by Steven Spielberg.

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