Friday, 5 May 2006

Movie Review : Munich

Munich, directed by Steven Spielberg, is a brilliant, serious, hard hitting movie. It could almost be a documentary with the amount of facts that it feeds you. But it's a very well presented, excellently told story which has you on the edge of your seat very often.

The movie is set against the backdrop of the 1972 Munich Olympics, at which Israeli athletes were massacred by Black September. Israel's secret service the Mossad, forms a squad to assassinate all the people who had a role in that massacre. Mossad gives this squad monetary resources and then disclaims knowledge of their existence. This squad painstakingly has to locate each target and neutralise him. A slow cat and mouse game is played out with international politics forming part of the intrigue. Spielberg gives you glimpses into the key protagonist's family life to humanize the sacrifices and pressure faced by members of the squad.

The editing is really taut and this turns the movie from an excellent flick into a Brilliantly Outstanding Masterpiece. Spielberg handles international political intrigue much better than Syriana. Why compare these two? They both have terrorism at the core of the story. Both stories span continents, nations and races. Both are key elements of political master plans. But Munich ends up far superior to Syriana.

Syriana tries to convey so much in a short time that you can't really get into the skin of the characters, the movie keeps flitting about all over the place. Speilberg's characters are each well etched and you can really become one with each of them. You can feel each one's fears, you understand each one's motivations.

Especially when Avner is waiting for one of the targets to turn off the lights, you
actually empathise with him so much that you can feel what he is feeling, his nervousness, apprehension and fear since Spielberg makes you wait for the event and makes you want it to happen and happen quickly.

Munich moves you, Munich makes you empathise, Munich gives you logic, Munich makes you think. All qualities of a great movie.

Munich was nominated for five Academy Awards (Oscars) including Best Director for Spielberg, Best Movie, Best Editing and Best Writing, but sadly did not win in any of the categories.

A lot of Israelis have protested the movie saying that it portrays them in a bad light. I don't think so. I think the Israelis did what they had to do to protect their own.

Even if you are a non-violent person, you can see the logic behind why Israel did what it had to do. And in the long run, it seems that they did the right thing, because no one wants to mess with Israel any longer.

Maybe India could learn from this. When K Suryanarayana's beheaded body was flown back from Afghanistan a couple of days ago, there were a lot of cries for India to take a harder stance at terrorism against Indians, in and outside of India. Maybe there are some things other than those pertaining to agriculture that we can learn from the Israelis.

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