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The ViewAuckland Review

Review byMatthew Turner25/01/2006

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 164 mins

Intense, gripping, provocative thriller with a terrific cast – this is unlike anything Spielberg has done before.

What’s it all about?
Eric Bana stars as Avner Kauffman, a Mossad agent tasked with assassinating the Palestinians responsible for the massacre at the 1972 Olympics in Munich (themselves the subject of the documentary One Day In September). Taking orders from a boss (Geoffrey Rush) he can’t acknowledge, he is assigned a four man team: a South African driver (Daniel Craig), a Belgian bomb-maker (Mathieu Kassovitz from Amelie), a clean-up expert (Ciaran Hinds) and a German forgery specialist (Hanns Zischler).

Forced to relinquish their identities and denied contact with their families, Avner and his team travel around Europe carrying out their officially sanctioned acts of revenge. However, as the violence escalates, the group become more and more paranoid as their situation takes a heavy toll.

The Good
Bana is astonishingly good as a man stifling his humanity in the face of a job he believes in. There’s also superb support from Rush, Craig and Hinds.

The Great
Shooting in a style that echoes classic 1970s thrillers, Spielberg orchestrates a number of terrifically exciting suspense scenes. Interestingly, the Palestinians are hardly ever portrayed as stereotypical bad guys – rather, they’re family men, intellectuals, academics and the like, which leads to a complex series of emotions for both Avner and the audience.

This is a brutal, uncompromising film – there’s none of Spielberg’s trademarked sentimentality here, something that’s profoundly illustrated when Avner takes revenge of his own, leaving us open-mouthed with shock.

Worth seeing?
In short, Munich is an intensely gripping, provocative and timely thriller that questions the very concept of political revenge. Unmissable.

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Content updated: 21/02/2020 12:09

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