Munich Munich
Film Date :   December 23, 2005
Genre :   Drama Thriller Crime   
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Munich

Munich

Munich is a 2005 historical fiction film about the Israeli government's secret retaliation attacks after the massacre of Israeli athletes by Black September militant group during the 1972 Summer Olympics. The film stars Eric Bana and was produced and directed by Steven Spielberg. It was written by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth.
The film shows how a squad of assassins, led by former Mossad agent Avner (Eric Bana), track down and murder a list of Black September members thought to be responsible for the eleven Israeli athletes' murders. The second part of the movie, which depicts the Israeli government's response, has been debated a great deal by film critics and newspaper columnists. Spielberg refers to the film's second part as "historical fiction", saying it is inspired by the actual Israeli operations which are now known as Operation Wrath of God.
The film received positive reviews and was nominated for five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director (Spielberg), Best Adapted Screenplay (Tony Kushner & Eric Roth), Best Film Editing (Michael Kahn) and Best Original Score (Composed by John Williams).

The film is based on the book Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team by Canadian journalist George Jonas, which in turn was based on the story of Yuval Aviv, who claims to have been a Mossad agent. In the book, Aviv's story is told through a protagonist called "Avner". Jonas's book was first turned into a made-for-TV movie in 1986 called Sword of Gideon, starring Steven Bauer and Michael Yorkand directed by Michael Anderson.

The film was shot in various places around Malta (which stands in for Tel AvivBeirutCyprusAthens, and Rome), in Budapest (standing in for London, Rome, and for the German airport of Fürstenfeldbruck), Paris, and New York.

The North American theatrical rentals were tepid, earning US$47,403,685, about two thirds of the film's $75 million cost (estimated). However, the film did do well internationally, grossing $130,346,986 total.

The film begins with a depiction of the events of September, 1972. After the killings, the Israeli government devises "an eye for an eye" retaliation. A target list of eleven names is drawn up in retaliation for the eleven Israeli men murdered.
Avner Kaufman (Eric Bana), an Israeli-born Mossad agent of German descent, is chosen to lead the assassination squad because he is not well-known in the field and he knows his way around Europe. To give the Israeli government plausible deniability, Avner officially resigns from Mossad, and the squad operates with no official ties to Mossad or the Government of Israel. Avner is given a team of four men: Steve (Daniel Craig), a South African driver; Hans (Hanns Zischler), a document forger from Frankfurt; Robert (Mathieu Kassovitz), a Belgian toy-maker trained in defusing explosives; and Carl (Ciaran Hinds), a former Israeli soldier who "cleans up" after the assassinations. Since the Mossad is "not connected" to the mission, Avner and his team set about tracking down the eleven targets with the help of an informant, Louis (Mathieu Amalric), who is introduced to Avner by an old friend.
The group go to Rome to track down and shoot their first target, Abdel Wael Zwaiter, who is broke and living as a poet in Italy where he has translated One Thousand and One Nights into Italian. The group follows him, from a speech he gave to a small audience, to his apartment building. After confirming the poet is indeed Abdel Wael Zwaiter (by asking him), two members of the nervous squad (Avner & Robert) make their first kill.


Robert pretends to be a journalist interviewing their second target, Mahmoud Hamshari, about the Munich attack. He plants a bomb in the phone that is set to be detonated by a remote key. The phone number of Hamshari is to be dialed by Carl from a public telephone booth. However, Hamshari's daughter, who is supposed to have left for the day, returns to the flat. The men are not able to see her go back into the building because of a truck that blocks their view. When Carl calls the telephone from a phone booth and hears the little girl's voice, he and Avner race to stop Robert from detonating the bomb. After the little girl leaves the building, Carl calls the number, asks the man who answers if he's Mahmoud Hamshari and upon affirmation of same, Robert detonates the bomb. Hamshari is hospitalized and later dies from his wounds.
The team travel to Cyprus to kill the next target, Hussein Al Bashir (Hussein Abd Al Chir), by planting a bomb under his bed in his hotel room. Avner gets a room next to Abd Al Chir in the hotel. Avner and Abd Al Chir are both on the balcony and converse for a short while. When Avner has seen him actually on the bed, he shuts off his night-stand lamp (the agreed signal of the group) and Robert detonates the bomb. However, the explosives are too powerful, almost killing Avner in the room next door as well as injuring a pair of young honeymooners in the opposite room from Al Chir. This causes the team to doubt Louis, who provided the explosives.


Louis gives the group information on three Palestinians in Beirut. These three are among the top brass of the PLO, Muhammad Youssef al-Najjar (Abu Youssef), (involved in planning of Black September), Kamal Adwan, a Fatah veteran, and Kamal Nasser, PLO spokesman. Ephraim, the team's handler, per previous instructions that they are not to operate in Arab or Warsaw pact countries, refuses to let them handle the mission themselves. Avner insists that he will lose Louis's trust if the operation is carried out by the Israeli Defense Forces. Ephraim relents, allowing the team to accompany the IDF commandos. In Beirut, Steve, Robert and Avner meet up with a group of Sayeret Matkal IDF soldiers (including future Prime Minister Ehud Barak). They penetrate the Palestinian leaders' guarded compound, killing all three leaders as well with other militia.
The team heads to Athens where Louis has provided a dingy apartment that they will use as a safe house. During the night, four PLO members, who have rented the same apartment as a safe house, enter the dwelling. After a tense confrontation with guns drawn, Robert defuses the situation by claiming that his squad are fellow militant revolutionaries, members of ETA, RAF and ANC.
Avner discusses Middle Eastern politics with the group's leader, Ali. Ali speaks passionately about his quest for homeland, while Avner debates him, arguing that violence would only make the world regard Arabs as brutes, and that there are other Arab countries the Palestinians could go to. Ali disagrees, citing the examples of the Irish and the Jews themselves, and concludes that a home is more important than anything else.
Avner's group carry out their next assassination, that of Zaiad Muchasi, the replacement for Hussein Al Bashir in Cyprus. They install a remote-controlled bomb made of three World War II-era phosphorus grenades in Muchasi's television set, after bribing the doorman (who thinks they are simple thieves, and is happy to let them in for a share of the bounty). However, the bomb malfunctions and does not detonate. In desperation, Hans walks into the hotel, forces his way into Muchasi's room and throws a grenade that sets off the bomb, killing Muchasi. The squad exchanges gunfire with Muchasi's KGB bodyguards and the PLO operatives, and Ali is killed by Carl.


Louis provides the squad with information on Ali Hassan Salameh, the organizer of the Munich Massacre and the squad's prime target. Avner learns from Louis that the CIA have a deal with Salameh wherein they protect and fund him in exchange for his promise not to attack US diplomats. The squad moves to London to track down Salameh, but they are not able to accomplish the assassination when Avner is suddenly approached by several drunken Americans. Later the group wonder if said Americans were actually CIA agents.
Avner is propositioned by a woman in the hotel bar but declines. Afterward, Carl goes into the bar and is later killed by the same woman, who turns out to be an independent Dutch contract killer.
The movie then proceeds on more dark and sombre lines. The squad is feeling the pressure of the assassinations. Robert (the explosives expert), questions the morality of the entire mission and cannot bring himself to continue without compromising his soul. Avner listens to him patiently and asks him to take a break.
The remaining squad track the Dutch assassin to Hoorn in Holland to avenge Carl's death. Later, Avner, Steve and Hans discuss the futility of the entire mission. Sometime later, Hans is found stabbed to death and left on a park bench (reasons not explained) while Robert is killed in an explosion in his workshop (possibly self-engineered).
Avner and Steve finally locate Salameh in a gated residence in Spain, however, their assassination attempt is thwarted by Salameh's guards. Frightened, Avner shoots a guard who turns out to be a teenager. The guards immediately return fire and the two men run for their lives.


At the end, Avner is dispirited and disillusioned. He flies first to Israel and then later to his new home in Brooklyn, New York to reunite with his wife and their child. Avner becomes psychologically tormented with paranoid fears about his family's safety, horrifying flashbacks of the Munich Massacre, and pangs of conscience about the morality of his killings and the value of his mission. In a fit of rage and paranoia, he storms into the Israeli consulate and screams at an employee whom he believes to be a Mossad agent to leave him and his family alone.
Avner's handler, Ephraim, comes to the United States to urge Avner to rejoin Mossad, but Avner rejects the offer. In the movie's final scene, in a playground in Gantry Plaza State Park across the East River from the United Nations headquarters building, Avner asks Ephraim to dinner, in an offer of Jewish hospitality. Ephraim pauses, declines and leaves. Avner turns to leave as well, and the camera pans to a shot of the New York City skyline, including the World Trade Center.
The film ends with a postscript noting that nine of the 11 men originally targeted by Mossad were assassinated. Salameh was eventually killed in 1979.

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