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Munich: The Edge of War


Stars: George MacKay, Jannis Niewohner, Jeremy Irons, Liv Lisa Fries, Jessica Brown Findlay, Ulrich Matthes, Alex Jennings, Mark Lewis Jones, Nicholas Farrell, August Diehl, Sandra Huller, Anjli Mohindra

Director: Christian Schwochow

Despite the fact that we know the outcome of the events in this historical drama, director Schwochow still manages to wring some tension and suspense from its well-paced narrative.

A preface at Oxford University in 1932 introduces us briefly to Hugh Legat (MacKay) and his German friends Paul (Niewohner) and Lenya (Fries). Three years year later, Hugh, now with the Foreign Office and married to Pam (Findlay), visits them in Germany and finds Paul much changed, sand a fanatical supporter of Hitler (Matthes), whom he sees as the saviour of the nation.

When Hugh expresses his doubts, Paul flares up and leaves.

When they meet again in 1938, Europe stands on the brink of war, with Hugh part of the British delegation headed to Berlin under Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (Irons) to discuss the prospects for peace in the light of Hitler's new territorial demands. Paul, now part of the German delegation, has seen the light, and, giving Hugh a secret document detailing Hitler's crazed ambitions, begs him to use any influence he can to persuade Chamberlain not to sign a treaty that, while preventing (delaying) war, gives in to some of the Fuhrer's demands.

Performances are stalwart by familiar UK faces playing ministers and diplomats, but the roles handed to Fries and Findlay are somewhat arbitrary, while Huller and Mohindra enjoy rather more interesting characters on the distaff side. And Chamberlain, as deftly portrayed by Irons, emerges as a more complex man than historians generally allow.

David Quinlan

UK 2021. UK Distributor: Netflix. Colour (unspecified).
123 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 02 Jan 2022