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Munich

Year: 2005
Studio: Universal
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush, Cirian Hinds, Daniel Craig
It's a shame we all have to grow up sometime - even Steven Spielberg, the closest thing we have to Peter Pan in the world (well, except Michael Jackson).

In the days of Close Encounters and ET, Spielberg dreamed on celluloid for us all, creating some of the most memorable images in world culture, not just the movies. But somewhere along the way he got serious and wanted to make movies that were - while no less brilliant - somehow not as 'big'.

The last time he really took the breath away form the kid who lives inside us all was in Jurassic Park. But nowadays, even when he's not being Saving Private Ryan -like solemn (Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal), it's rarely earth shattering.

So while Munich is as powerful as any Spielberg movie, it's looking more like that Peter Pan figure is gone forever, maybe knocked off his pedestal by a certain bearded Kiwi...

That's the only bad news about it - the rest is all good. We follow a slipshod team of assassins criss-crossing Europe to track down the organisers of the 1972 Munich Olympics hostage drama, in which 11 of the Israeli team were killed in the escape siege.

Set secretly in motion by Mossad, they're led by Aussie boy made (very) good Eric Bana, turning in an entirely believable performance as group leader Avner. Together with experts in munitions and espionage, he tracks down the Palestinian ringleaders, becoming more ruthless and making uncomfortable deals with his morals in the process.

Although it was inspired by true events, Spielberg has copped a lot of heat for the politics of the movie. But he gives equal screen time to both camps and his message is clear; should we think any politically motivated violence is justified, be it attack or retribution? Little good comes of the actions by the team - even to themselves, Avner having cut himself off from his wife and baby for several years and ending up a paranoid and hunted emotional wreck.

It's the first time Spielberg has set a film in modern Europe and he captures the grimy desperation perfectly, especially when the story crosses briefly to the Middle East and later to New York of the early seventies.

As usual, he surrounds himself with a worthy cast, and Munich is another entry into a powerful movie CV.

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