Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Tony Kushner & Eric Roth (screenplay), George Jonas (book “Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team”)
Running time: 164 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
UK Release date: 27th January 2006
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 13th May 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I am old enough to remember the events that took place at the Munich Olympics in 1972. I don’t remember much detail because I was quite young, but I do remember the news reports and the fact that everything got very serious from then on. This film deals with the aftermath of that attack and how the Israeli secret service (Mossad) wreaked its revenge on those they deemed responsible. Here’s a brief summary before I give you my thoughts.
A terrorist attack by the Palestinian group known as Black September at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972 left eleven Israeli athletes dead. A secret plan is hatched and a team of five is assembled to hunt down those responsible for planning the attack. The team is led by Avner, a young agent who’s wife is about to give birth, even so, he agrees to go. The other members of the team are Steve, Carl, Robert and Hans. They each have their specialities and use them to great effect. The group is overseen by Ephraim, a high-up government agent. Their main problem if finding information on the whereabouts of their targets, but a mysterious French group who will supply the information for a price. The only thing they ask is that it is not divulged to governments, if so, they will refuse to work with the group. As time passes Avner becomes more and more disenchanted with the effectiveness of their scheme. More atrocities are carried out in the name of the Black September group and every time they dispose of someone, another is put in his place. Will he see it through to the end? Well, I guess I had better not tell you that or the Spoiler Police (Espionage Division) will be planting a bomb in by bed (again).
Very well made with all the attention to detail you’d expect from a film made by Steven Spielberg. Original music by John Williams was excellent also. The performances were all very good with Eric Bana as Avner, Ciarán Hinds as Carl and Geoffrey Rush as Ephraim standing out for me. They were ably supported by Daniel Craig as Steve, Mathieu Kassovitz as Robert, Hanns Zischler as Hans, Michael Lonsdale as Papa and Mathieu Amalric as Louis.
Although it’s very well made with some excellent performances, it has two things that I found were not in its favour. Firstly, it’s far too long and secondly, the pacing of it is very slow and this, combined with the length does not make for an overly enjoyable viewing experience. Don’t get me wrong, aspects of the film are quite compelling and the action sequences are as exciting as you’d find anywhere else, I just found it a little slow and far too long. Even so, I still think it’s worth a look.
My score: 7.1/10
IMDb Score: 7.7/10 (based on 110,104 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 74/100: (Based on 39 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 78/100 (based on 198 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 78/100 (based on 304,565 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
Ephraim: We deposit money from a fund that doesn't exist into a box we don't know about in a bank we've never set foot in. We can't help you because we never heard of you before.
Ephraim: We have 11 Palestinian names. Each had a hand in planning Munich. You're going to kill them, 11 men, one by one. They're all in Europe now. You'll stay there as long as it takes. Europe only, not the Arab countries. That's for us, not you. And not Eastern Bloc. Don't upset the Russians. Who needs it? You'll have no contact with us.
Avner: You're not going to give me any information?
Ephraim: We deposit money from a fund that doesn't exist into a box we don't know about, in a bank we never set foot in. We can't help you because we never heard of you before. You'll do what the terrorists do. You think they report back to home base? They don't. We want them dead.
Steve: You know how to shoot, to assassinate people, right? I mean, you make dolls in a toyshop, and you... you shop for sofas? And you- I don't know what you do.
Carl: Me? I worry.
Steve: [to Avner] So why did they make you team leader?
Hans: Because he really knows how to cook a brisket.
Avner: [starts laughing]
Avner: Break bread with me. Come on, you're a Jew in a foreign land. It's written somewhere I should invite you to break bread with me. Break bread with me, Ephraim.
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.universalstudiosentertainment.com/munich/