Monday, January 24, 2022

Munich: The Edge of War (2022)


Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Munich: The Edge of War (2022)
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Length: 123 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production/Distribution: Turbine Studios, Netflix
Director: Christian Schwochow
Writers: Robert Harris, Ben Power
Actors: Alex Jennings, Anjli Mohindra, August Diehl, George MacKay, Jannis Niewöhner, Jeremy Irons, Jessica Brown Findlay, Liv Lisa Fries, Ludwig Simon, Mark Lewis Jones, Nick Wymer, Raphael Sowole, Robert Bathurst, Sandra Hüller
IMDb Blurb: A British diplomat travels to Munich in the run-up to World War II, where a former classmate of his from Oxford is also en route, but is working for the German government.

Selina’s Point of View:
I gravitate toward films about World War II. I feel as though the history of my ancestors is intertwined with the events to such a level that refusing to learn as much as I can about that time would be like spitting on a whole lot of graves.
This particular film made my blood run like ice.
There were conversations held throughout the film that sounded familiar to me. Not because I saw them in other movies, or read them in books, but because I’ve heard people have them in my lifetime. Every time a conversation like that came on screen, chills ran up my spine. Not just because of the comparisons of mass-apathy, but because there are people out there who don’t see the similarities.

Although the story in Munich – The Edge of War is fiction, it takes place in a very real setting. One that was well crafted behind the performances. Every step a character took in public was surrounded by an accurate depiction of the daily life of people during the time leading up to World War II.
Every watch through, more aspects of that daily life are exposed in the background. I’ve rarely seen that level of apathy mixed with despair and hatred portrayed as well on screen.
To get the full depth of Munich – The Edge of War, you really need to focus on the bigger picture – not just the performances and script. A difficult thing to do, since both aspects were entrancing.

I always find it difficult to tear my gaze away from George MacKay to begin with, but it was necessary here. In the past three years, I’ve become a huge fan of his, and I only see that growing. He’s exceptionally talented.
Despite the importance I found in Munich – The Edge of War, I understand that it’s not going to be for everyone. It’s more of a perpetually tense, slow burn, spy film than a complete war movie. Not everyone has the attention span, or interest, to really get into that.
If it is a part of your preferred genre, though, it’s worth a watch.
Unfortunately, I believe the people who need to watch it the most, would never get the message. 

Cat’s Point of View:
While I’m drawn to World War II movies, as I discussed in my #7 entry in January 2022’s Top 20 list, I’m never that enthusiastic about watching them. I have to muster the resolve to watch, as the memories of my grandfather’s stories and history lessons lurk with sadness in the back of my mind. Munich: The Edge of War was no different in that regard. I was impressed with the cast and curious as to the real events that inspired the tale, yet wasn’t eagerly anticipating the experience.

First, let me step back and explore this film from the perspective of a pure spy thriller. Of course, this was more of a period piece than your average spy flick. The trailer didn’t promise much action. A historical biopic drama like this, not based on a battlefront, shouldn’t really have that sort of expectation. All that was just fine. The setting was immersive and highly nuanced. So much was happening in the background around the characters that told a story unto itself.
I had been a bit on the tired side before I started watching Munich: The Edge of War, but I was decidedly awake by the time the somber credits ran. This production kept me sufficiently at the edge of my seat with worry for the characters and dread for what I knew was coming in general. I appreciated how authentic it seemed as the pair of schoolmates put themselves in harm’s way to uncover the underlying German ruler’s deceit. If everyone in the movie was a slick and polished master of spycraft, it would have thrown off the balance.

Munich: The Edge of War provided an eerie window through which to view Hitler. The production deftly examined how someone so malevolently charismatic could ensnare the hopes and national pride of their people and then show their underlying darkness. The fear of the masses and the zeal of those that followed blindly were clear on the screen without it having to be overtly shoved in the audience’s face.
It was particularly chilling, having heard strikingly similar discussions happening in the real world around me in recent years.
The performances of the cast really resonated with me. Jeremy Irons fit the role of the elder statesman like a tailored glove. The pair of George MacKay and Jannis Niewöhner gave me goosebumps at a few points and nearly brought me to tears.

I have not read the book upon which Munich: The Edge of War was based, so I am unable to attest to how faithful this adaptation was. However, if the book is anything like this movie was – or better – it must be something powerful, indeed.
If you’ve a mind for history, and appreciate World War II stories, Munich: The Edge of War is an excellent addition to your Netflix watch list. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 84%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 77%
Metascore –53%
Metacritic User Score – 6.6/10
IMDB Score – 6.9/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 4/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5
Movie Trailer:

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