Munich – The Edge of War ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Review by Andrea Carnevali
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. In cinemas right now and on Netflix from 21 January.
This is one of those films that grabbed me from the first few minutes and never let me go. Two hours flew by in the great company of George MacKay, Jannis Niewöhner and Jeremy Irons, who gives a likeable spin to cigar-smoking British prime minister Neville Chamberlain.
Adapted from Robert Harris’ novel (and a subsequent play), this political thriller mixes fiction with historical facts seamlessly, cranking up tension to edge-of-your-seat levels. After all, you could hardly have a better baddie in a movie than Adolf Hitler himself.
The ‘edge of war’’ of the title refers to the time in 1938 where Hitler was about to invade Czechoslovakia with Chamberlain desperately looking for a peaceful solution.
As pressure mounts, two former Oxford classmates, Hugh Legat, a private advisor to the British Prime Minister, and Paul von Hartmann, German diplomat (who Hitler actually likes) must travel to Munich to join a conference where some last-minute negotiations to advert war are taking place.
The two old friends will find themselves at the centre of a web of political subterfuge as they try to expose some secret documents which reveal Hitler’s real plans to conquer Europe.
It is of course all a bit ludicrous, but it’s all so beautifully constructed and filmed, with the camera in constant movement to heighten the tension, that it’s amazing how well it actually works, especially considering it all hinges on the prevention of a war that we all know will eventually take place.
It is all so convincing that I have to confess during a very gripping sequence with Hitler and one of our heroes, there was even a moment when I started wondering whether I’d be treated to a Tarantino twist, like in Inglorious Basterds. (To be clear, one of those twists in which history gets rewritten).
If there is a criticism to be made, it is how the women are bit short-changed. Unfortunately all of the sequences with them feel rushed and actually not much needed. But clearly director Christian Schwochow is much more interested in the intrigue and the spy story itself and that part works very well indeed.
Overall this is a hugely enjoyable film, which I am happy to recommend.
Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.
Munich – The Edge of War is on in cinemas right now and will be on Netflix from 21 January.
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