Munich: The Edge of War [6/10]

Robert Harris’s Munich, published five years ago, is a Harris-typical stylish, entertaining (and also informing) thriller, which posits a young man involved in spy stuff during Chamberlain’s ill-fated trip to Hitler in Berlin. The book ached for a movie treatment, and now here we have it: “Munich: The Edge of War.” Certainly, there is much to appreciate from Ben Power’s well-paced script and Christian Schwochow’s steady direction: the reenactment of the times is wonderful and the atmosphere of Nazi spookiness in Munich is tangible. The spying sequences unroll smoothly. Yet something is missing. The Harris novel thrilled with its clever juxtaposition of imagination and reality, while the movie entertains without generating real tension. The two younger leads—George MacKay and Jannis Niewöhner—are miscast, that is, earnest but flat, while Jeremy Irons rolls out a reasonably interesting portrait of Chamberlain without any underlying passion. If you’re a Robert Harris fan, by all means enjoy Munich: The Edge of War as one of his lesser screen adaptations, and if you’re new to Harris, feel free to check this out as an atmospheric, if humdrum, modern history dramatisation.

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