Image Courtesy: Netflix

Munich: The Edge of War is a war film based on the novel Munich by Robert Harris. However, this is not the usual war on the battlefield, but the more quitter one fought behind closed doors, fought in press statements, and in the minds of the leaders. It is a spy movie, but not spies who are trained to function secretly and report to their superiors. This is a story about two friends, serving their nations, attempting to thwart Hitler’s efforts.

The Plot and Its Fit

We are taken through the story of two friends, one English and the other German, who studied together before going on to serve their own countries. While they are out of contact over a disagreement, the common goal re-unites them. The movie takes place in the background of the 1938 Munich Agreement. Paul von Hartman and Hugh Legat attempt, in their capacity, to avert the disaster of war. However, their attempts do not take hold.

The movie has been well enacted. The story fits into place with actual history. It even provides a story as to how Chamberlain’s document originated. Chamberlain’s hair, the way he wears his tie, and his speech when he returns to England have been spectacularly recreated.

Image Courtesy: The Independent

The way the interaction between the leaders of Europe is portrayed is splendid and shows the slow-paced occurrence of things. The space here is where the story of the two friends and their attempts are located. This is also where we get to see what happens to those working in the lower decks to some extent. With limited authority hindering the characters’ capabilities, it is amazing to watch how the story progresses.

The setting of 20th century war-time Germany, with the street lights, soldiers saluting, and the shouting of slogans seem to have got it right. The environment depicted in Germany when Hitler is about to make a public speech sets the mood of the scene just right.

The Actors

While the movie is good, it is not devoid of flaws. An intensity is maintained throughout the film, with the passage of time. However, signs of discretion are not very well portrayed, especially on the German side.

Image Courtesy: Netflix

Moreover, Paul getting stuck with his German soldier friend, who is established as Hitler’s personal bodyguard, seems cliché. Paul is smuggling papers that contain sensitive and dangerous information and manages to rightly end up with his friend in the same compartment of the train he takes to Munich.

Moreover, this soldier friend seems to be at the right places at the right time, witnessing the exchanges between the British secretary and the German translator. It really makes one think that the soldier is placed there on purpose just to keep the intensity of the film flowing.

Moreover, Legat’s bewildered face in a public setting, when everyone waits before the signing might have been an attempt to show his emotions of desperation and frustration. However, it seems as though the characters do not care if there is anyone else in the room. This makes the scenes artificial in feel, and make it feel the actors try too hard to make the connection with the audience.

Image Courtesy: Netflix

In addition to the two friends, we are also let into the character of Neville Chamberlain a little bit. This adds a little mix to the story and gives us insight into what a world leader’s motivations and roles at the time of war would have been. Chamberlain’s character is charismatic and is enacted at its fullest potential.

The Parts That Connect

The film does spring a surprise on us. We are shown three friends, Paul, Lena, and Legat. While we cannot see Lena except in the flashbacks, we do see her later on in the film. As a Jew, she had been attacked when arrested in a protest. We see her paralyzed and non-responsive.

This answers the question that the viewer might have had about this third character that is shown at the beginning of the movie. In addition, this does bring some emotion into the movie as we see the two friends visiting her. It is all the eerier owing to the timing of this scene. Just before this, we witness the event which is shown to be the potential turning point of the film.

Image Courtesy: Netflix

Moreover, each time Paul enters Hitler’s chamber, there is an air of apprehension hanging about. It is as though Hitler might just grab him by the throat and choke him, but actually, he really takes a liking to him. When Paul is at the stage where he thinks he can assassinate Hitler, the tension can be really felt.

Final Thoughts

The film is a good watch. The end is neither optimistic nor is it sad. It is just what it is. The two friends return to their lives. Paul continues his endeavor to take down Hitler from the inside, while Hugh returns to his family. Knowing that a war is coming, he seeks to prepare for it.

The ending perfectly conveys that there is only so much a man can do. It does not matter whether it is Hugh Legat or Neville Chamberlain. In the end, while the friends’ attempts fail, we are told that action is better than hope.

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