Munich

Film

Time Out says


WAR ROOM Lynn Cohen's Golda Meir weighs her options.

The abduction and murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games—and Mossad's swift, secret revenge on the Palestinian terrorists responsible—are the weighty, real-life subjects of Steven Spielberg's explosive new drama, the riveting political thriller that many hoped Syriana would be. But from Munich's very first shot, that of American Olympians unwittingly helping Black September agents over the fence, to its last, a digitally altered sweep of the Manhattan skyline circa 1975, the film is resolutely (and boldly) not just about Jews and Arabs. Extending its reach into multifaceted theoretical discussions—something rarely attempted by Hollywood—on the nature of revenge and nobility, Munich is a major and timely accomplishment.

Subtly shifting from eager, fresh-faced Israeli operative to haunted ex-spook, Eric Bana leads the film's terrific slate of performances, which also includes Geoffrey Rush's cool spymaster, future Bond Daniel Craig's gunman (as handsome a Jew as Charlton Heston's Ben-Hur) and Mathieu Amalric's secretive info supplier, a turn as wonderfully slippery as his work in this summer's Kings and Queen. It's possible that only Spielberg, with his enormous clout, could have pushed through a nearly three-hour movie about the depressing Arab-Israeli chess game. The greater realization, one to be seriously reckoned with, is that only Spielberg could have handled these big-budget action set-pieces alongside intimate human drama, and with such heart. Essential moviegoing.—Joshua Rothkopf

(Opens Fri 23; see Now playing for venues.)

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