A thought-provoking surprise from famed director Steven Spielberg, MUNICH explores the aftereffects of the brutal terrorist attacks on the Israeli athletic team at that German city's 1972 Olympic games. Loosely adapted from the book VENGEANCE by Hungarian George Jonas, the script was largely written by the provocative, award-winning playwright Tony Kushner (ANGELS IN AMERICA), who lends an incisive intelligence to the dialogue. The film begins with the violent sequence of the terrorists carrying out their attacks on the Israelis; a bloody and gruesome sequence that is deftly and beautifully handled by Spielberg and his brilliant cinematographer, Januzs Kaminski. Back in Israel, we meet the handsome and charming Avner, deeply in love with his beautiful, pregnant wife. Domestic bliss is short-lived however; immediately following these "Black September" attacks, Avner (THE HULK's Eric Bana), the son of an Israeli hero, is summoned by his country's famed secret service agency, the Mossad, to carry out violent retaliations against those Palestinian terrorists allegedly behind the Munich massacre. Commanded from afar by prickly government agent Ephraim (the inimitable Geoffrey Rush), Avner and his team of handpicked men--pugnacious South African Steve (Daniel Craig), goofy ex-toy maker Robert (French actor Matthieu Kassovitz), morally conflicted Carl (Ciaran Hinds), and terse professional Hans (Hanns Zischler)--must deal with some shady, nefarious international figures as they track down their Palestinian prey. Their mission takes them everywhere, from the villas of Rome to a seedy hotel in Cyprus, and with each successful kill, Avner's iron will begins to dissolve, and guilt and doubt begin to take hold of his conscience. Strong performances (particularly by the magnetic Eric Bana), gripping action, moral complexity, and a political urgency make the film not only consistently entertaining, but enormously important. Kushner and Spielberg work together to make it clear that the past informs the present, and the lingering final shot should leave viewers with much to think about.
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