April 4th: No gadgets?

85. Munich (Steven Spielberg, 2005)

Time for something a little more cerebral from the king of American cinema. I’ve always been of the opinion that Spielberg’s best films operate as cinematic theme park rides providing brilliant visceral thrills in an escalating fashion. Duel, Jaws, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark/the Last Crusade and Jurassic Park all fit into this pattern and, with the exception of Duel, they are classics of the summer tentpole blockbuster genre. I’ve not watched much of his serious output so now seems as good a time as any. Munich is the story of the alleged vengeance killings carried out against the perpetrators of the 1972 Olympic massacre of 11 Israeli athletes. It’s made with a steady assured hand and the narrative is admirably neutral in terms of judging the events. I’d expected a Jewish bias of some kind but it isn’t there, this is a human story about the effects of violence on people and how it can be carried with you. Eric Bana is absolutely superb as I’ve come to expect as was Ciarán Hinds (previously brilliant in Hallam Foe) and their friendship lends the film a warmth which it would otherwise have lacked. Daniel Craig’s South African accent could have done with a bit of work though.

Here’s an alternative view from my good friend Tom Figures (Stifler on the comments board)…

“I found it lacking in shooty bits and the baddies didn’t have eye patches and scars and other distinctive ‘baddy’ features. So it made it dead hard to work out who was who.

And the goodies plan was a bit boring, trying to secure railway lines to all these European cities on the orders of “his rail”. We never even find out who the chap who owns the rail company is! This left me confused for much of the film. Bond did nothing whatsoever, he just sat in cars (which had no gadgets) being useless all the time.

Worst. Bond. Film. Ever.

5/5 stars, see it now!”

11 thoughts on “April 4th: No gadgets?”

  1. I think there is a tendency to underrate Munich – it is a remarkably tense thriller, which captures that 70s thriller feel very nicely. Still, who are we to argue with Stifler’s review. I mean, they even shot the Bond girl 🙂

  2. I wanted to write a longer review really because I enjoyed the film, I liked the style and pacing and just the assured way in which it was presented. In comparison to Spielberg’s turgid direction of the recent Indiana Jones film it was a revelation. I’d like to see more like this from him and less of the War of the Worlds/Crystal Skull nonsense.

  3. I thought that Daniel Craig’s character was Irish? Did it SAY he was from South Africa? His role also lent to the lighter side of this horrible topic – with his singing and dancing, etc. Anytime he’s part of an ensemble, the quality goes up – no matter what!

  4. Just done a quick google skim and yes he is supposed to be South African (theres a couple of references at the dinner table conversations to it aswell). I suppose that you thought he was supposed to be Irish suggests that his accent really did need some work.

    I do agree though – he’s a fantastic talent.

  5. My fake Paul Ross-style review of Munich aside, I actually thought the film was OK. I did expect more from it though and found myself getting a bit bored in the middle.

    Perhaps having watched it not long after the month long Israeli bombardment of Palestine last year, I found it difficult to be sympathetic to the characters, having seen how the ‘eye for an eye’ approach ultimately gets horrendously out of hand.

  6. pfft!

    Sorry, did I not add enough hip witticisms and film references for all you wannabe guardian film reviewers to lap up?

  7. Fair enough

    At least I now have an idea of what to aim for in future, a combination of nonsense and silence ……with great emphasis on the latter I suspect.

    From now on all Daniel Craig films will be reviewed as though they are Bond films.

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