‘Munich: The Edge of War’ Summary & Review – Two Men Catapult Destiny

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‘Munich: The Edge of War 2021’, a political thriller set from 1937 to 1940 during World War II, stars George Mackay and Jeremy Irons, taking on a personable Neville Chamberlain, the then Prime Minister of England. In the film, Hugh Legat (portrayed by George Mackay) is his trusted secretary who teams up with his forgotten friend from Oxford, Paul Von Hartman (performed by Jannis Neiwohner), a German diplomat, to leak documents of Hitler’s plan to seize Czechoslovakia to Chamberlain, in the hopes of revealing Hitler’s true attempts at a war of conquest.

Based on the novel ‘Munich’ by Robert Harris, director Christan Schwochow, along with screenplay writer Ben Power, brings a thematic story of power-play between world figures and certain underdogs from two different countries struggling to matter during the most dangerous time of World War II. The screenplay is well poised for a thriller, but the story takes on an astonishingly compassionate portrayal of Neville Chamberlain before Winston Churchill took office. The film takes us through an age where war was apparent, and survival meant everything.

The narrative follows the time in history when Hitler was rising to power and was looking to annex territories in Czechoslovakia. By trying to avoid a conversation with them, seizing it by force was the only way Hitler knew. In his ignorance, Neville Chamberlain attempted to dissuade Hitler from doing so by trying to initiate a conversation through Hitler’s friend, Benito Mussolini. Now, history says at the time, Hitler was ferocious in his ways of taking over countries, and his reign grew powerful by the virtue of fear alone. Director Schwochow’s film is a fictional account of events that sets an ironic narrative to what real history portrays Neville Chamberlain to be as a personality, with two characters added that give the narrative an edge. The fallacy of the Munich Agreement remains that Chamberlain believed Hitler when he said he did not want war, but in hindsight, Hitler was doing just the opposite.

Munich: The Edge of War Ending Summary Explained 2021 Film
Credits: Netflix

Screenplay writer Ben Power brings forth the story of an era that was to be remembered for lifetimes in the immediate future, with characters that make you feel as passionately about surviving as living to see the next day. During World War II, Hitler looked to create more territory, and Chamberlain was considered a people-pleaser, incapable of saving Britain and the world from catastrophe. With the rising power of the Nazis, the film introduces two fictional characters, Hugh Legat and Paul Von Hartmann, whom we first meet at Oxford University, living carefree on the grounds of the campus, and having a joyous time together.

As we move to another segment of the film, we cut to six years later when these same characters are shown to be part of extremely powerful circles of influence in their own countries. Hugh Legat is a secretary to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, and Paul Von Hartmann is a German diplomat who at first, was a Nazi enthusiast, but now looks to become a spy and take down the Nazi regime at all costs. As the film continues, the narrative reveals Legat to be the messenger, and Von Hartmann turns spy when he gets hold of an official document that reveals Hitler’s plan to conquer many parts of Europe. Von Hartmann’s pro-Nazi beliefs change at a fundamental level when his ex-girlfriend, who is Jewish, is brutally tortured. Her torture, perpetrated by Von Hartmann, causes him to seek vengeance and commit a near-assassination of Herr Hitler. The official document has a journey of its own when Von Hartmann is followed by one of Hitler’s generals, and while sneaking around Legat’s things, Legat discovers him suddenly in his room. After a brief scuffle, Legat believes all hope is lost. Still, he has a secret angel nearby watching him that makes a specific rescue and bottles the possibility of a different outcome.

Cinematically, the film’s pace is the perfect dose of an adrenaline rush for history buffs, as it is set in a wishful world where we see a whole era go down with one document, giving us tremendous hope while trying to turn back time and save innumerable lives. Through Director Schwochow’s vision of Germany and England in 1937, Jeremy Irons emerges as the perfect casting choice for the feeble Neville Chamberlain. All in all, while others glare at its audacity considering today’s political scenario, the film makes for a narrative to understand and possibly create a diversion from a set of events that could have been a very real possibility, when we wish for history to have worked in better, more mysterious ways.

Also Read: ‘Munich: The Edge of War’ Ending, Explained


Munich: Edge of War 2021 is a fictional political thriller directed by Christian Schwochow.

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Anushka Rao
Anushka Rao
Anushka is a Storyteller and a Painter. She is still looking for a silver lining in any situation and figuring how innovative she can be to make the world a better place. Charisma and mystery with a spark of genius. A true Believer that films are our strongest power yet, for change.

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