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What to Watch This Weekend: Munich – The Edge of War

Munich – The Edge of War is the fictional story of two estranged friends, Englishman Hugh Legat (George MacKay) and German-born Paul von Hartmann (Jannis Niewöhner). After graduating from Oxford in 1932, each young man worked in government—Legat as a secretary to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (Jeremy Irons) and von Hartmann as a translator in the Berlin Foreign Office. With Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, and his request to annex the Sudetenland, a peace summit is called for in Munich. This conference brings together the men once again as they conspire to uncover Hitler’s true intentions for Europe.

What works in Munich – The Edge of War is the balance of tension resulting from both the personal conflicts between the two main characters as well as the clandestine nature of their actions. While many might know from history the final outcome, director Christian Schwchow (The Crown) deftly navigates avenues to maintain a high level of intrigue and suspense. Concurrently, Schwchow offers audiences a unique and novel perspective on the build-up to World War II. Particularly fascinating is Chamberlain’s naivety as he attempts to maintain peace at almost any cost including self-delusion. All-in-all, Munich – The Edge of War supplies an engaging spin in the “what could have happened” genre through the blend of fact and fiction.

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Audiences who prefer their portrayals of historical events to maintain strict levels of accuracy might not appreciate Munich – The Edge of War as much as others. While all the performances are powerful, a multitude of liberties are abound: everything from a side of Hitler not typically explored in cinema, to the wholesale creation of the two protagonists. It’s possible to express some frustration at the notion that however entertaining Munich – The Edge of War might be, its majority is not based on actual events.

Munich – The Edge of War is great for lovers of multiple genres including spy thrillers, historical dramas, and even character studies. While it may ask watchers for a wide berth of latitude, the ride is well worth the suspension of belief.

Recommended if you Enjoyed: Inglorious Basterds

Final Grade: A-

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