News from the Locarno Festival

Vengeance. Plain And Simple

Histoire(s) du cinéma: Excellence Award Moët & Chandon Mathieu Kassovitz

Vengeance. Plain And Simple


© Collection Cinémathèque suisse. Tous droits réservés.


Released in 2005, Steven Spielberg’s thriller stunned public and critics opinion because of its modernity. Today unfortunately the movie can be perceived even as prophetic.

In its core Munich is indeed a movie about vengeance. Plain and simple. And consequently about its pointlessness. The primary quality in Spielberg’s movie is a vision so powerful that forces the audience to follow in an emotional way the team of agents/killers at the center of the plot. Their mission? Eliminate the minds behind the killing of  Israelian athletes perpetrated by Palestinian terrorists during Munich 1972 Olympics.

The director works with stunning lucidity on a dry, livid mise-en-scene, able to bend the realism to visual solutions simply dazzling. Spielberg, assisted by the loyal director of photography Janusz Kaminski, picks long shots as primary style, working in particular about the timing of the shots in order to build the tension of the action, both physical and ethical. Munich then returns the audience the psychological and emotional burden that violence carries. Yet Mathieu Kassovitz, Eric Bana and their “teammates” don’t stop, don’t hesitate, not even when they start being killed by the opponents. The screenplay written by Eric Roth and Tony Kushner is intensely ambiguous, and for that reason even more propositive, open to analysis and critic.

Saving Private Ryan changed Steven Spielberg cinema perception about the aesthetic. Munich definitely proclaimed the author’s loss of innocence. 

Adriano Ercolani

Follow us