Yuval Aviv was the source of the book by George Jonas, on which Spielberg's film is based

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Munich

Munich is a 2005 film directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth. more...

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The movie is set after the 1972 Munich Massacre, and follows a Mossad squad, led by "Avner" (Eric Bana), that is ordered to track down and kill the Black September terrorists thought to be responsible for the Israeli athletes' murders. The extent to which the movie represents fact is a matter of debate. Spielberg himself refers to it as "historical fiction" saying it is inspired by actual events.

Plot

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 has claimed to have once been a Mossad agent. In the book, Aviv's story is told through a protagonist called "Avner". The Jonas book was first turned into a made-for-tv movie in 1986 called Sword of Gideon, starring Michael York and directed by Michael Anderson.

Themes

  • Doing whatever it takes to defend the family
  • Sacrifice of one's happiness for one's country and people
  • When the hunter becomes hunted, the paranoia of falling in the same way as one has killed
  • Determining truth from those one trusts, and the loss of it
  • The soldier as pawn and puppet, and the feeling of betrayal of being left out of entire picture by strategists
  • Exceptions to one's ethics on border cases
  • Revenge, counter-revenge and the endless cycle of it

Response and reaction

The film has received largely positive reviews with many critics considering it among Spielberg's best films with particular praise going to Eric Bana's performance. The film garnered a 78% rating on film review site Rotten Tomatoes and deemed 'certified fresh' overall, but only 59% of the 'cream of the crop' critics gave it a positive review, making it a "rotten" film by the site's standards . Multiple reviewers have criticized Spielberg for what they call his equating the Israeli assassins with the Palestinian terrorists. Leon Wieseltier wrote in The New Republic, "...Worse, ‘Munich’ prefers a discussion of counter-terrorism to a discussion of terrorism; or it thinks that they are the same discussion.” ,,, .

Other critics, including Roger Ebert, have strongly defended the film. Ebert placed it on his top ten list of 2005.

The film has also failed to attract a wide audience and it appears it will struggle just to cover its budget. Moreover, the film did not receive a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture in 2005, although Spielberg did receive a Best Director nomination.

Controversy

Journalist Yossi Melman of the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz has said that the book is "strewn with mistakes" adding that, after a lawsuit identified Aviv as Avner, "investigative reports about him revealed that he represented himself as a Mossad agent even though he had never worked in the Mossad and certainly had not participated in operations to kill those involved in the athletes' murder. Aviv, as he emerged from these investigative reports, had a special fondness for conspiracy theories, and it turned out that he was willing to hire out his services to anyone who was willing to pay, even to both sides of the same dispute."

Read more at Wikipedia.org


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