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'Munich: The Edge Of War' is a film written by Judith Meehan and published by the London Film Festival

'Munich: The Edge Of War' is a film written by Judith Meehan and published by the London Film Festival

Two friends try to prevent a war in Munich: The Edge Of War, starring on Netflix at the BFI London Film Festival, is regarded as baffling.

Hugh Legat (George MacKay) and Paul Hartman (Jannis Niewhner) are two carefree students at Oxford University in 1932, sipping champagne and playing in the grass at a drunken party. Six years on, the mood is grim: Adolf Hitler is planning to invade Czechoslovakia, and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (Jeremy Irons) is searching for a peaceful solution. Hugh is now a civil servant and has the ear of the Prime Minister.

Paul is a diplomat in his home country of Germany, and has access to important documents that may help the British government. As the two prepare for a secret meeting in Munich during the emergency conference, flashbacks fill us in on more of their past, and the tension rises.

Based on the highly acclaimed novel by Robert Harris, Christian Schwochows film is a captivating experience, but not incredibly poignant, given the inevitable tragic outcome. Certaines situations and people may be fictional, but this is not revisionist history in the general sense. Also, with the ending well-known from history, the onus is on the actors and themes to engage, which they do well.

MacKay is a charming everyman, while Niewhner has sung his duet with grace. Sandra Hller (Toni Erdmann) plays Hartmans colleague and lover all German roles are filled by German actors speaking their own language (with English subtitles), rather than heavily accented English. Ulrich Matthes, who played Joseph Goebbels in the 2004 film Downfall, isnt an obvious fit, despite a surprisingly chilling performance.

The question Would you have killed Hitler if you had the chance? has dominated drama and dinner conversation, and its addressed here, as well as the question of betraying your country for the greater good. Chamberlain and Hartman discuss potential self sacrifice, while Legat may be sacrificed for his country by his marriage. Jessica Brown Findlay adds drama as his wife, whos frustrated that her husband has to rush off on their wedding anniversary, unable to explain the global importance of his secret mission.

With its themes and settings, this film has shades of the Benedict Cumberbatch-starring The Courier, in which an ordinary man is asked to become a spy. In January 2022, it will likely be released in cinemas and Netflix, and it should perform well with mature audiences.

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