#27. Munich : As one of America’s greatest storytellers, Steven Spielberg has often exercised his ability by using lesser-known stories as vehicles to explore some of the great tragedies throughout history (see Amistad and Schindler’s List). With Munich Spielberg explores the history and nature of the middle east conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis. To do this, he chronicles how a covert group of Israelis retaliated against the “Black September” terrorists; the individuals responsible for the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Instantly, Speilberg’s deft touch comes through as he weaves actual news coverage of the massacre within the events as they unfold in the movie. All in all, the movie is filled with suspense as the group embarks on a bloody journey to avenge the deaths of those athletes who lost their lives. Eric Bana gives a brilliant performance as Avner, the de facto leader of the group and the protagonist. Throughout, the internal struggle that takes place within Avner becomes more clear with the killing of each target.
To be sure, Munich conveys a message. Indeed, Spielberg spares no expense in illustrating the difficulties of engaging in a back-and-forth war with no end, during which the purpose of the conflict gets lost. Although it gets a little long in the tooth towards the end, the movie ultimately deserves to stand alongside Spielberg’s other great works. If for any other reason than that it is ambitious in its message.