Munich is a film with no easy answers, and plenty of uncomfortable moments. It also finds Steven Spielberg on masterly form behind the camera, telling a relentlessly serious and unsettling story with the gravitas it absolutely requires.
Set immediately after the murder of nine Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics (an event that’s brutally re-enacted), the film is supposedly a fictionalised account based on true events of what happened next. Namely, the Israelis ordering together a secret team--led by Eric Bana’s Avner--to take out those they considered responsible.
Only it’s not that easy. It doesn’t take long for the film to start blurring the moral debate. Is what Avner and his team are doing that different from the original assassins? Can he reconcile the brutality of his actions? And what happens when the programme of retaliation doesn’t go quite to plan?
By turns, Munich is a brutal, gripping and important film. It’s not always easy to penetrate, and it really demands some good old-fashioned concentration to fully appreciate it. Yet it’s superb filmmaking, and an engrossing piece of cinema. Oscar may have snubbed it, but you’d be wise not to make the same mistake.--Jon Foster