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(Review originally written at 8 July 2006)

This movie does provide a powerful, gripping and for most part realistic view of the 1972 Munich Olympic tragedy and its aftermath. Of course, especially the movie its view of the aftermath, is mostly, if not entirely, fictional and we will probably never know if events as presented in this movie actually really truly occurred. It however is not the movie its intention to provide a realistic and documentary like view on the events of the 1972 assassination of the Israeli athletes and what happened afterward. The movie does make the viewer think. Is violence always the best way to answer violence and what are the consequences of it. The movie is filled with deep and important questions like this that the movie does not try to answer but it leaves it up to us to think about and draw our own conclusions.

People often accuse this movie if picking sides. To me this just seems silly. It's not a question of whose side were the film-makers on, that really is not relevant for the movie. The movie does show both sides their motives and it does help you to somewhat better understand both parties and why they do the things they do. So is that the reason why this movie is considered to be controversial by so many all over the world? I don't think that is the main reason. I think it's because of it that everyone suddenly now has a face. The movie shows that terrorist are also humans who have a family and emotions. Not everything in this world is black and white or as simple as it first seems. You suddenly now see that the terrorist get nervous and unsure as well and doesn't seem to be so completely ruthless and heartless at all. This movie does a very good job at portraying this. This might be a shock for some people, who never really considered this or thought about.

The story is a very gripping and interesting one. Even though the movie is 164 minutes long, it's no bore. The events in the movie are always interesting and the questions asked in this movie forces you to think and perhaps might even reconsider some of your views. Basically the movie for most part is a good old fashioned espionage-thriller but with a realistic and gripping twist to it. The movie shows that ultimately violence leads to nowhere and in most cases only worsens things. It's a vicious circle and downward spiral, that leads to nowhere and ultimately only leads to more pain and suffering on both sides. At least that my view and interpretation of this movie. You can draw your own personal conclusions from it.

Really Spielberg does deserve credit and respect for having the courage to bring up such a sensitive but yet still relevant subject that is considered highly controversial.

The movie does a very good job at re-creating the '70's style and atmosphere. The settings, costumes, hair are all very good and realistic, as simple and irrelevant as it all might seem at first sight.

The cinematography by Janusz Kaminski is at times highly impressive and delicious to watch. The musical score by John Williams was also great and just perfect for the movie. It was one of the best and most powerful scores of the year for me and in my opinion he should have won an Oscar for it as well.

Not sure if Eric Bana was the right choice as the main lead. I already wasn't the biggest fan of him after watching "Hulk" and "Troy". He doesn't really have enough charisma and is too boring. He also didn't really convinced me in this movie but I think that his way of acting and personality suited the character in this movie quite well. Daniel Craig was really good in this movie and he played a great character. Ciarán Hinds was also great as always and so was Michael Lonsdale, who is perhaps one of the most underrated and under-appreciated actors of the last decades.

The movie is for most part a very realistic and authentic made one. It however gets also a bit too obvious that this movie was made a bit in a haste. Not every storyline gets fully and well enough developed and the main reason of the Mossad mission gets a bit muddled in. At times you forget that this is a movie that concentrates on the aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympic tragedy. I think that is also the reason why Spielberg constantly puts on flashbacks of that event into the movie to help us remember. It however does mostly feel out of place at times and works distracting. Not the best example of movie-making and storytelling really. The movie also gets a bit too moralistic at times, which causes it to lose some of its credibility. The movie does at times also chooses the easy, simple and save road. As weird as it might sound, the movie does still have lots of humor in it. It's the typical Spielberg humor that is present in this movie. I wouldn't call it misplaced, since it worked well in the movie but it does make the movie a little bit less impressive and powerful to watch at certain moments. It's the only reason why I don't really this movie to be a masterpiece. But fact remains that this movie still is one of the most powerful movies that were released in the last couple of years.

An important movie about an important event in history. See this movie and draw your own conclusions from its story and choose your own interpretation of it. It will grip you and make you think and reconsider guaranteed.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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