Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by: Tony Kushner, Eric Roth
Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy, Barry Mendel, Steven Spielberg, Colin Wilson
Runtime: 164 minutes
Chances of winning?
Being a Steven Spielberg film, I’m sure it had its fair share of fans that made this film a nominee, though the tough subject matter of it may have also put some members away from it. Unlike the other nominees, there isn’t much buzz about the film. I mean, Brokeback Mountain has the media craze, Crash is very much an actor’s picture, Good Night, and Good Luck is George Clooney’s directorial debut, and Capote is all about Philip Seymour Hoffman, but how about Munich?
There isn’t a single element in the film that could possibly cause the Academy to go gaga over it. Maybe the success of Spielberg’s another movie of that same year War of the Worlds have earned the film some support, but aside from that, there isn’t much going around with the film being a real contender, and no one really thinks it’s Spielberg’s time again to take it, so it sits just fine as a ”pleased-to-be-nominated” film. It’s fifth in the ranking of votes.
The event that shook the world in 1972 – the murder of the eleven Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics. To avenge the said murder, the Israeli government employs five men to trace the ones involved in the murder and then exterminate them afterwards.
The film was tough to watch, I admit. Right from the start of the film, the discomfort is very much present with its bleak cinematography. It captures the very threatening atmosphere the movie needs for the film to work on a higher level. This continues for the rest of the film where the choice of shots demonstrate an evident knowledge and control. The editing pushes each scene forward with threatening energy and discomfort. It works for the film that the experience is discomforting because it makes the film work as a visceral work of film.
The sound adds a lot in the tension present in the film, forwarding to the senses the dread that the characters feel in each scene. One scene where it works a lot is the bomb explosion at the hotel. It is a terrifying scene, a sudden moment where the heart almost stops, a point where you know the film got you into the scenario. The sound work consistently displays clarity throughout the film. The musical score puts an ethnic dimension that furthers the daring vision of the film. Again, it made the film tough to watch, but it worked for the film.
The movie is really a director’s movie, but this does not lessen the work of the screenplay. It provides the film a solid unfolding of events that continually asks the “what could happen” scene after scene without making the film too tiring to watch. And much to my delight, the suspense present in the film is actually hinged on a thought-provoking foundation that the screenplay provides.
The acting of the cast is good, but is somewhat limited by the fact that the characters are used more as plot devices to drive the film. Notable faces here and there blur to this complete vision of the story, and they effectively deliver their scenes. Eric Bana is given more tension to contain than emotions to carry, but he still was able to make a channel to the audience. His love scene near the end of the film is a terrifying illustration of how the terrorism inflicted to him damaged his lost self, and Bana handles it with a scary touch of what is more horrifying – the truth.
But the film is all about the director’s vision. In each scene, it is executed with an assured control and consistency that makes the film an enthralling experience. There is a striking amount of intelligence that the film needs for it to work. No scene is dull. Every scene is thrilling to watch. The gripping movie is the result of the boldness in storytelling visible through the strong use of violence to make a work of total precision and unpredictability. Also, the vision fleshes out a completely personal story filled with sensitivity while setting it to an atmosphere that is planted on an epic and vast milieu. It is a movie that feels complete and fulfilled.
The film is a gritty movie, a movie that is too difficult to watch at times. It worked for the film and that is what the film needed for it to work, but I guess it was too rough on the edges. The film is a noticeable piece of work, but I doubt that I am going to be able to love it. Again, this is the kind of the treatment the story deserves, but it gives a discomforting movie experience that might prove to be unbearable at times. A tough movie to watch, sure it is, but the film is great.
For this, the film gets:
So, agree or disagree?