Saturday, 2 August 2008


Steven Spielberg’s 2005 movie Munich is a thriller, but much more than that, a film of genuine complexity. Its starting point is the assassination of Israelis at the 1972 Olympics in Munich – a shocking act of terrorism that I still remember vividly. The bulk of the movie follows the work of a team of Mossad agents, led by Eric Bana and including Daniel Craig (the future James Bond unexpectedly playing a South African hard man) and Ciaran Hinds, who performs brilliantly in an apparently subordinate role.

I don’t normally care for very length films or tv programmes (I even tend to be wary of very lengthy books), but two hours forty minutes or so flew by, so absorbing did I find the story. It’s based on a book called Vengeance, which I must admit I’ve never heard of, and that title gives a clue as to Spielberg’s theme – he’s concerned with the consequences of violence. It is possible to understand why Golda Meir might have instructed her secret service to kill off those responsible for the horrific massacre – pour encourager les autres, is the idea – but Spielberg shows that it’s all too easy for the violence to spiral completely out of control. In the end, it isn’t altogether easy to distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys – or to believe that people truly divide up into neat categories of ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

As one might expect, the film has caused some political controversy. It’s fair to assume that hard-liners on both sides of the argument will find plenty in it to complain about. Overall, I thought it sympathetic to the Israeli cause, but sceptical as to whether ‘an eye for an eye’ was the best way of promoting that casue.

An excellent, thought-provoking film. Strongly recommended.


Ali Karim said...

Hi Martin - I few years ago I watched back to back, MUNICH and SYRIANA one evening, and as much as both those films blew me away, they also indicated how dark is human nature. They made me sad but strangely unplifted.

They also ignited my thoughts and interests in certain conspiracy theories.

Geo-politics is fascinating and by equal measure terrifying and to think there are still people who believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when the Zapruder footage clearly shows John Kennedy take bullets from opposite ends of the area, Grassy Knoll and Dealey Plaza.

There are wheels within wheels -


Martin Edwards said...

Syriana is a film I haven't heard of before - thanks for mentioning it - I shall check it out.

Ali Karim said...

SYRIANNA is a film that really has a profound message, but also one hell of a story illustrating the darkness in human nature.

It is a very troubling film and on a second viewing the jigsaw puzzle on how geo-politics rules the world and the links to 9/11 and conspiracy politics operates, makes it for very disturbing viewing