DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Munich - DVD Review



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</script></div>{/googleAds}Many know of the unforgettable events that unfolded during the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. An extremist Palestinian group known as Black September invaded the Olympic Village, killed two members of the Israeli Olympic team and took an additional nine hostage. Then, as 900 million viewers around the world watched on television, the remaining nine were killed in a hail of explosions and gunfire during a botched rescue attempt.

What many don't know is what happened next. That's where Steven Spielberg picks up with the captivating political thriller, Munich that tells the story of the mission of retribution that followed the terrible tragedy. In gripping fashion and with graphic images of detail, Spielberg takes us back to a moment in time that still resonates with viewers even more than thirty years later.

Spielberg opens the movie with the actual overtaking of the Israeli dormitory. Initially, he lays out the events in a rather calculating and linear fashion, mixing in stock footage of the actual broadcasts that aired at the time, including Jim McKay's collected resignation that "they're all gone", in reference to the Israeli hostages. But Spielberg's not so much interested in showing us how the event went down or even how it affected the world - this is the story of how a secret squad of Israeli assassins is assembled under the secret and undocumented authorization of then Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, (Lynn Cohen), and how it tracked down the terrorists one by one. "Forget peace for now. We must show them we're strong", said Meir as she launched the secret Israeli Mossad into action.

The heart and soul of Munich comes from the five individuals that make up the assassination squad and seeing how each plies his craft with such mechanical precision. Led by Avner Hoffman (Eric Bana), five men (including a bomb-maker, a document forger and a clean-up man) from different backgrounds are thrown together with a single objective to kill the masters and planners of the Munich attacks. But as the assassinations begin to unfold, the team begins to doubt whether the men they are killing had anything to do with the Munich attacks. Nowhere is this more evident than in Bana's Avner who does a complete 180 with regards to his devotion to the mission. Initially on board with Meir's plan, by the end of the story he wants out and even considers defection as a viable option. But as the assassinations begin to pile up, each killing a bit more violent than the previous, so do the retributions by Black September. The tit-for-tat, ping-pong game of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict begins here.

Munich is a taught, resonant political thriller brimming with all the aspects that make a thriller thrilling. But normal things like clear-cut bad guys, squeaky-clean heroes and discernibly moral actions are not present. Spielberg does an exceptional job of presenting both sides of the dilemma including several well thought out monologues from characters on both sides. Spielberg wants us to be disgusted with the senselessness of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and with Munich he succeeds. He even presents a shot of the still erect World Trade Center twin towers to remind us that America is not even immune to the effects.


DVD

DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1

Subtitles: English, Spanish, French; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: Dolby Digital; English 5.1 Surround

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; making-of featurette; cast and crew interview.

* Introduction
o With Steven Spielberg as he discusses what he was trying to accomplish with the film.
* Featurettes
o The Men: The Mission - Looks at the film's script development, characters, etc.
o Memories of the Event - With Spielberg and Screenwriter Tony Kushner as they discuss their memories of the real events.
o Portrait of an Era - Looks at the set design in trying to recreate the time.
o On Set Experience - How Spielberg filmed without a storyboard in such a short period of time.
o The International Cast - How the cast was assembled.
o Editing Sound and Music - A brief look at the film's rapid post-production.

Number of discs: 2 - Keepcase Packaging

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