Despite its lengthy running time, Munich is a remarkable feature and a valiant effort from all involved. Director Steven Spielberg is back to the top of his game (after War of the Worlds), composer John Williams accentuates Spielberg’s prowess, and the cast is without a weak spot. Inspired by real events, Munich is utterly stirring to watch.
Don’t think for a second that Munich exclusively retells the tragic murders of the Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. These murders only serve as the vehicle to a more-expansive motion picture. While Munich does take an eye-opening glance at what happened in Munich, it then concentrates on the after-effects—more specifically, how the Israelis avenged the killings.
Subsequent to the Palestinian terrorists slaying 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games, a group of Mossad agents - led by Avner (Eric Bana) – are hired to hunt down and assassinate all the members of Black September who were involved in the Munich murders. As the men eliminate their targets one-by-one, they begin to lose sleep, question their principles, and have reservations their about their goals and actions.
Specifically, throughout the process, the characters appear to pose questions like: Can the War on Terror be won? Do those who invoke terror begin by simply needing to collect a paycheck and provide for their family? Is war merely a constant connection of unjust retaliations? Does war serve anyone any good? Should one sacrifice their personal morals to seek international revenge?
Amid all of its wartime violence, a humanistic tone encapsulates each of the characters—Israeli or Palestinian. For example, when one terrorist shares his Palestinian viewpoint with Robert (Mathieu Kassovitz) the “toy” maker, it seems plausible and analogous to that of the Israelis. Likewise, when a Black September target small talks with Avner on a balcony and wishes him sweet dreams before entering a bed rigged with a bomb, the target’s charm seems authentically brotherly. Nonetheless, in the minds of soldiers and citizens, war is fundamentally unavoidable. Military and non military will continue to fight for their right to land and a place to call home.