Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
Switzerland/Germany/United Kingdom, 1999. Passion Pictures, Arthur Cohn Productions, British Broadcasting Corporation, British Screen Productions, Dan Valley Film AG, European Co-production Fund, Soros Documentary Fund of the Open Society Movement. Cinematography by Neve Cunningham, Alwin H. Kuchler. Produced by John Battsek, Arthur Cohn. Music by Alex Heffes. Film Editing by Justine Wright. Academy Awards 1999. Online Film Critics Awards 2000.
In 1972, a group of Palestinian terrorists walked right into Munich’s Olympic Village during the summer games and took eleven Israeli athletes hostage, immediately killing two of them and holding the other nine until their demands were met. Thirty years later, director Kevin MacDonald has assembled the many hours of available film footage as well as personal testimonies to tell this truly hearstopping story that ended in a globally-silencing tragedy at the Munich airport. MacDonald interviews family members of the victims, as well as having the only surviving terrorist from the incident narrate the events of that day as he remembered them. Some have criticized the film’s director for biting off more than he could chew, a fair statement considering that in the end the film feels slightly inconclusive (why is the involvement of the East Germans in aiding the terrorists pointed out but never delved into? Why is the ineptitude of the German police treated with so little judgment?) However, the power of the story and the true horror of these people perverting the one world event that represents global harmony is so staggering that the film will live in your mind for some time afterwards no matter what. Michael Douglas provides excellent voice-over narration.