This could be only the second time a Steven Spielberg movie is banned in Malaysia, the first being Schindlers List, and now Munich. Wanting to watch it badly, I did the best possible thing a fan can do, yes, I bought the bootleg version of it, costing around 2 USD. A fairly fine copy except for the dialogues that I can’t understand from time to time though it doesn’t matter because the strength of the movie is in the visuals rather than the reasoning.
(Update; Actually it seems the distribution company havent applied for a screening licensce yet, they might try in March, but they said the hopes are slim. I did'nt want to spoil a good opener)
The idea of the movie revolves around the Munich Olympic terrorist tragedy in which Palestinian terrorist turned hostage takers seriously botched up their mission by first having bad logistics and second by executing their mission in the wrong country. The rest of the movie is a jumbled up mix of Mossad agents trying to exterminate each of the planners of the hostage situation and terrorist leaders who due to the vague logics of the cold war and the oil hungry world, literally, live a happy good life in France and the rest of Europe who was sympathetic towards the Palestinian cause.
Let's look at a few things before you attempt this movie or try to understand the issue further. First of all, dead people can’t talk, so the history in the movie is just a reconstruction of the events that presumably happened after the Munich incident. And by killing the perpetrators and the rest of their cadres, the Israel agents made sure the hopes for a symbolic showing to the world of the plight of the Palestinians are somewhat stumped. But then again, caution number two, the Munich tragedy is not the only black event that happened during those troubled time. The Black September movement, formed by non-other than the late Yasser Arafat himself, in the disguise of liberating the Palestinian people, conducted a series of terrorist attacks all over the world. Issue number three, while all this was happening, hundreds of thousands of innocent people lay dead in the Middle East for a war which none of us can understand. So don’t try, this is simply a movie, and what’s happening in the real world today, and what happened decades ago are justified only by the greed of men for dirt and yes, their minute of fame on international news channels.
To the movie now. Eric Bana plays a mossad agents (and non-agent) in the movie who is also a very good cook. You’ll understand his part if you watch the movie, and he lived up to his reputation by giving a superb perfomance, unless of course you’re a life long fan of the Hulk, then this movie is nothing. All the other actors played commendable roles too. Nothing much to say of a Spielberg movie, the polished direction, the superb screen play and the memorable soundtrack compliments a story well written. And if you last till the end of the movie, and I’m sure you will, the familiar skyline of New York where the movie ends is complete with the Twin Towers.
By the end of the movie, I still can’t understand the kind of peace message SS was trying to convey. As mentioned before, the movie is a near technically perfect rendition of a story that in my humble opinion is not worth making into a movie at all. And yes, a book would have done a world of justice eliminating some unnecessary scenes. I don’t know how far the scenes of Bana having sex with his pregnant wife are relevant to the movie. Or the scenes of him having sex with his wife intertwined with the flashback of the ambush of the terrorists at the airport are logic.
In the end, you don’t understand whose war it is, or for whom the fight is. Two factions fighting for dirt in a country where no economic future lies or two ideologies doing calculative termination of each other which in all its worth is nothing more than having their own colored flag or national anthem, and ignoring the fact that half of their citizens are dead.
That’s the end of the review of the movie, which if you ask me the verdict will be, get a Jurassic Park DVD and enjoy every moment if it. The creative license that SS have expired some movies ago, maybe since his modern day masterpieces of the Schiendlers List, the groundbreaking Jurassic Park and also the excellent SF noir Minority Report and AI.
The jury is out on whether sentiments for Israel or the hate for gays will finally determine the outcome of this year’s Oscars, but I’m rooting for George Clooney and his two movies to get the honors. Syrianna is a stunning movie.
And finally, finally, this entire post are of my own opinions, the facts are true as found on the net and the book that I mention bellow. Don’t let me influence your decision on watching the movie or not, but I think it’s strictly is for fans and not ever if you want to learn the history of the Middle East crisis. Get a good history text book to dissect the histories of the conflict. And remember again, Dead people can’t talk, they just don’t. The best explanation for the whole quagmire I think comes from the movie Syrianna; ‘The Middle East must remain in conflict for the rest of the world to survive’. Its all about oil and nothing else.
The depth of the information that I know of the Middle East crisis especially the Black September movement and the Israel – Palestine conflict comes from the well researched book by David Yallop: To The Ends of The Earth; The Hunt For The Jackal. The books main story is of the illusive Ilich Ramirez Sanchez or Carlos the Jackal. Supposedly fighting for the dispossessed Palestinian refugees causes, Carlos led the terrorist cells of Black September in many attacks throughout Europe, which incidentally is featured in the movie Munich, is a subtle way. The book is a must for anyone who wants to understand the deep ideological war that took place during those troubled years and to some scale still is happening in the Middle East.