The Source for Youth Ministry

Movie Reviews
by Jonathan McKee

Munich (5/9/06)

Rated R for strong graphic violence, some sexual content, nudity and language.

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Starring Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush…

Jonathan's Rating: Rental

In 1972 eleven Israeli athletes were murdered at the Munich Olympics by a Palestinian terrorist group known as Black September. In retaliation, Israel put together a special team of Mossad agents to track down and assassinate every one of those responsible for the murder.

Spielberg’s Munich is based on these true events.

This film accomplished part of what Steven Spielberg wanted it to accomplish:

  1. He wanted to make people think. Mission accomplished. This film has spring-boarded a surplus of discussions, debate and controversy about terrorism, racism, religion and violence. It will stretch your mind to think about issues you probably don’t think about every day.

  2. He probably wanted the film to do well financially. Close. With worldwide distribution…the film-makers broke even.

  3. He wouldn’t have minded a few more awards. Sorry. It was nominated for several. But no little gold guys for this film.

Reactions to this film are polar. It seems that people either love this film or hate it.

I hate to break the trend… but I’m going to chime in with a hearty, “It was aight!”

The film was very well done. The writing was incredible and the performances were fantastic. Eric Bana has graduated from elementary school (Hulk) and high school (Troy) to graduate school (Munich). Eric gives us a glimpse of the emotional struggle behind the mask of a soldier turned assassin. His performance was so convincing, it actually made me shudder in embarrassment that people like Kim Basinger have in fact won Oscars.

But the movie wasn’t without its problems. It was slow at times, and probably could lose about thirty minutes of footage without anyone complaining. Personally, I’d discard the two sex scenes in the scrap pile, because they were pointless. Sometimes film makers will argue that a sex scene is necessary (Fatal Attraction). I’m still trying to figure out what Steven was thinking with these two scenes. Not typical Spielberg.

The film is worth seeing. Just be cautious. It earns its R rating in a hurry. You may want to wait for the TV version of this one. (Click Here for Jonathan’s video discussion guide for this film.)

Nope. Personally, I wouldn’t even show it to most teenagers. The violence is very real, combined with a few sexually intense scenes with violence and nudity.

Spielberg isn’t one to usually throw in eye-candy. But both my brother and I questioned the reasoning behind the sex scenes… they weren’t crucial to the plot in any way.

Overall, there were several scenes that were hard for me to watch… I wouldn’t want my kids watching it until edited for television.

Side Note:
As said above, we recommend your kids skip this film. But on the occasion that your teen actually has already seen it, you may want to dialogue about the film with them. These questions below may be a help to you.

Conversation Starter
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

  1. What are some of the messages or themes you observed in this movie?

  2. How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?

  3. How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?

Jonathan McKee Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

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