*** Official MUNICH Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by MikeRS, Dec 23, 2005.

  1. MikeRS

    MikeRS Screenwriter

    Jul 17, 2002
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    Know this..

    Beyond the EXTREMELY political layer infused within Munich's absorbing meditation on the morality (and futility) of violence and revenge, this is a superb procedural/character thriller. Definitely Spielberg at the top of his narrative game -- which is scary considering he began principal photography the weekend War Of The Worlds opened.

    The thriller aspect is so absorbing and well done, it really feels -- at times -- like you've slipped in a time warp, watching a vintage 1970s work (Think The Conversation mixed with The French Connection mixed with the Noah Cross scenes in Chinatown). I think mainstream audiences will be drawn to the picture for that very reason. Big chunks of narrative are truly electric and tension-filled. Edge-of-your seat stuff. Truly.

    The political layer is gonna be more problematic. Not because it's conclusionary -- quite the opposite. As Spielberg has said in interviews, the film only attempts a kind of "talmudic" discussion/argument whenever it focuses on the methods and motivations within the Israeli/Palestinean conflict. It definitely tries it's best to present nuanced portrayals of both sides in the equation. Some will definitely think too nuanced (From both sides of the equation!) Obviously the story is designed to be structurally seen from the Israeli POV. They are, after all, the protagonists. But don't jump to any conclusions based on this

    I'll leave it at that for now. [​IMG]

    And contrary to some pre-release buzz, this film can get extremely emotional. Even vintage Spielberg emotional. In fact there's this one scene with Bana....

    ...where he's speaking to his daughter on the phone and he breaks down as she says "dada"........I swear the look and anguish on Bana's face made me start tearing up right there. It just hit me really hard. Suddenly...shockingly.

    Bana is a damn fine actor. [​IMG]

    Daniel Craig, Ciaran Hinds and Mathieu Kassovitz all have great moments too, but kudos must be also given to the great Geoffrey Rush, and especially the French actors Mathieu Amalric and Michael Lonsdale. Fantastic character work from all.

    Great film. [​IMG]
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Munich". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.

  3. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

    Mar 4, 2001
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    I saw this last Friday, but decided to wait before posting many thoughts in order to let my feelings sink in. Now, to see this film, my friend, his brother, his friend, and myself had to drive up to the Parks Mall in Arlington, as the AMC there is the only theater near here playing it. We went for the 3:20 showing, but thanks to hellish Christmas traffic, we were late. The next showing wasn't until 7:00, but we decided to get something to eat and then hang out at the mall until it started. It was more than worth the wait, because this is one brilliant piece of cinema.

    The film starts off with a combination of actual news footage from the time of the Munich events and a recreation of the events themselves. It makes for a powerful opening to the film, and it perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the picture.

    Munich is an incredibly bleak film. Thankfully, Spielberg does not sugar-coat anything, and there is hardly an ounce of comedy relief. It is also very graphic, moreso than any other Spielberg film I've seen, and that's including Saving Private Ryan. A scene involving the use of pop guns is especially brutal. This is very serious subject matter, and Spielberg obviously knows it.

    Spielberg's message hits hard, as does the emotional impact of the film. He shows both sides of the conflict, that of the Israelis as well as that of the Palestinians, though the emphasis does tend to lean more to the Israelis. That's appropriate though, as the film is mainly centered around their quest to destroy Black September. He doesn't firmly pick a side here, and I think that adds to the film.

    The period feel is amazingly realized, and the jawdropping cinematography only enhances the feeling. The use of editing is also flawless, especially in a brilliant sequence with a bomb delivering a larger explosion than expected while Bana is in the hotel room next door.
    The film is also graced with a truly haunting score, one that I had stuck in my head for hours after the film ended.

    The acting is perfect on every level. Eric Bana gives what is simply the best performance of the year, bar none. He depicts a large range of emotions with his body language and facial expressions alone. He embodies the role of Avner and all the torture that comes with it. Towards the end of the film, after all the emotional hell he's been through, he actually looks like he's aged several years since the start of the film. He is just mesmerizing in this film. I'm also happy to report that this is one of the rare cases where all of the supporting players are just as good.

    Of the supporting cast, my favorite were CiarĂ¡n Hinds as the morally outspoken Carl, and Mathieu Amalric as the group's shady French contact. Hinds delivers a civilized sense of class to the group, and his use of moral thoughts and optimism to help him keep his sanity is a great quirk. Amalric steals every scene he's in. He's got wonderful screen presence, and his subtlety is very impressive, especially the emotion present in his face for the remainder of the film after a key moment where his father says Avner could be his son despite his actual son being right there.
    I think he bears an uncanny resemblance to Roman Polanski too. Geoffrey Rush is also wonderful in a smaller, but key role. There are several actors whom I failed to mention, but don't let that fool you. Everyone in this film is flawless as far as I'm concerned. Absolutely flawless.

    The final sequence with Rush and Bana is incredibly powerful, and I think it's a perfect ending to a perfect film. This is Spielberg's best film since Duel, and seeing how that's his first film, that should tell you how much I adored this one. It is certainly the best film of 2005, and overall, one of the most rewarding theatrical experiences I've ever had. I hope this one makes a ton of money at the box office. It sure as hell deserves to. There is so much more I want to say about this film, but I'll save it for the discussion thread I suppose.

    ***** out of *****
  4. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator

    Jun 30, 1999
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    Viewed on 12/30/05
    I left the theater not really knowing how I felt about this film because it left me with a fatalistic streak internally because its 2 main themes: one being of how vengeance can claim one's soul even if it appears to be rightful retribution from the onset, and the other being when will peace ever truly prevail among nations. Spielberg gives no easy answers, and just lays out a case for us to ponder based on the events of the Munich massacre and a possible (inspired by true events, we are told) response by the Israeli government.

    The film makes its points quite clearly at times, but then it overstays its welcome and lingers around in a repetitive cross-off-the-list plotline that failed to fully engage me to the bitter end. I didn't really feel for either the protagonists or the laundry list of antagonists, they are all just cogs in the machinery of maintaining land and security amongst groups all acting in their own perceived best interests, damn the costs, direct or indirect to one another.

    Could this have been a great film, maybe, but given its subject matter, it needed to be tightened up a bit, and the last act needs some work as well.

    I give it 3 stars, or a grade of B.
  5. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

    Jan 12, 1999
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    Monroe, LA
    Real Name:
    Tim Glover
    My initial NY Eve plans fell through so since I was already in the Dallas area, I thought I would search around to see where the limited release of Munich was playing. Found it and took it in.

    I was a bit mislead by my own expectations at first. This film is NOT about actual murdering at the '72 Olympics, but rather about Israel's response to it.

    Suddenly, I remembered that "vengence" was the book that inspired this film and then my misled expecations fell by the way side.

    Munich is one powerful film. It's a rare film experience that has such a grittiness to it and realness, that it places you there in ways you don't expect or predict. I won't talk alot about the politically meanings too much except to say it did make me think alot about the aftermath of 911 and Iraq. Not to say I think that America was/is wrong for their re-actions-----it's just for the first time I really began to think about it on a very deep level.

    The acting is top notch. The actor who played "Carl" was terrific and deserves an Oscar nom. I was the most surprised by Eric Bana. Wow. Didn't expect Bana to carry this film like he did. His performance was flawless and compelling, and rich. Maybe the best performance by an actor this year.

    Spielberg, again, at the top of his game. This is not a pretty film with warm and fuzzies. Gritty, tight, and most reflective.

    Reflective is probably the best description I can give. Really made think about things I tend to deny or "think about later"...

    The score is effective without calling too much attention to itself.

    It's a difficult film at times, and not always easy to sit through, but it's one of the years best, if not the best of 2005.

  6. Fred Bang

    Fred Bang Stunt Coordinator

    May 7, 2000
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    One simple review: The best film of 2005.
  7. Chris Atkins

    Chris Atkins Producer

    May 9, 2002
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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] /[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Not much to add to what's already been written. This ismy #2 film of the year, slipping in past two other excellent films: Cinderella Man and Crash.

    Does anyone put better images on film that Steven Spielberg? I don't think there is any director that creates images as realistic as he does.

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