Big question: Steven Spielberg plus true story equals movie with bigger hype than "Jurassic Park" dinos. In presenting the aftermath of terrorism at the 1972 Munich Olympics, can the director capture historical, political (and Oscar) gold?
Catch it: Spielberg's most powerful film in ages, "Munich" is the startling story of assassins sent after the terrorists who murdered 11 of Israel's Olympians. It trembles, bubbles and booms with rage--every explosion shattering the idea that global warfare has ever had an end in sight.
Skip it if: Longer than necessary and offering little depth to most characters, "Munich" also misfires by incorporating Spielberg's trademark family drama, as Avner Kauffman (Eric Bana) leaves his pregnant wife to track down the killers. But don't skip it if you enjoy heated post-film conversations.
Bottom line: "Munich" stalls about halfway through but remains a firecracker of alarming pessimism. It's a fascinating, layered study of the personal and political decisions that put people at war with themselves, and the conflicting loyalties that fuel violence around the world.
Bonus: "Munich" shows that whether you're Palestinian, Israeli or you've just got soul, everyone loves Al Green. (How ironic that they all like "Let's Stay Together.")
Directed by Steven Spielberg; written by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, based on the book "Vengeance" by George Jonas; photographed by Janusz Kaminski; edited by Michael Kahn; production designed by Rick Carter; music by John Williams; produced by Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Barry Mendel and Colin Wilson. A Universal Pictures release; opens Friday, Dec. 23. Running time: 2:42. MPAA rating: R (strong graphic violence, some sexual content, nudity and language).
Avner -- Eric Bana
Steve -- Daniel Craig
Hans -- Hanns Zischler
Robert -- Mathieu Kassovitz
Carl -- Ciaran Hinds
Papa -- Michael Lonsdale
Louis -- Mathieu Amalric
Ephraim -- Geoffrey RushCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times