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Munich Movie Poster


Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Directed by
: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush, Daniel Craig, Mathieu Kassovitz, Michael Londsale, Lynn Cohen, Gila Amalgor
Released by: Universal Studios

In Short: Eric Bana headlines this masterful tale of the killings of eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics, and the cycle of retribution.

Assassin vs. Assassin vs. Assassin
The Cycle of Retribution Continues
By Andrew Bender

We don’t think we know any agents of Mossad, the Israeli secret police, but we wouldn’t peg Avner Kaufmann for one. Baby faced and bright eyed, he’s a young dad-to-be with a pretty wife and not a lick of the dour or hard boiled.

Yet after Palestinian terrorists kidnap and murder eleven Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972, the Israeli command pegs Avner for a top assassin. They outfit him with a new identity, a team of colleagues and a bulging Swiss bank account, to rub out the Palestinian perpetrators.

Israel at that time was a country still haunted by the Holocaust (“Ambushed and slaughtered again,” laments Prime Minister Golda Meir), and this time the young nation is out to prove that killing Jews has its consequences. Avner (Eric Bana, consistently riveting) and his team (including Daniel Craig—the next James Bond—and French actor Mathieu Kassovitz) shuttle between Paris and Athens, Rome and London, hunting and killing with precision and the knowledge that they are on the side of right…or are they?

Whether one killing justifies another—and so on—is the central question that director Steven Spielberg (yes, that Steven Spielberg) asks in this film, making it his most complex and thought-provoking to date. Part of that comes from the script, co-written by playwright Tony Kushner ("Angels in America"), never afraid to take on controversy. In this world, no one is completely innocent and trust is a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder.

"Munich" is masterful filmmaking, as tense as it is subtle and filled with astounding performances, notably Michael Londsale as the leader of a ring of information brokers, Lynn Cohen as Meir and Gila Amalgor as Avner’s mother. It is also a film of great conscience in that it raises more questions than it answers; if you are like us, then "Munich" will sit with you for days, probably uneasily.

(Updated: 01/23/08 NJ)

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