Munich, Netflix style

Netflix is streaming the movie made of Robert Harris’s Munich. The film is titled Munich: The Edge of War. Played by Jeremy Irons, Neville Chamberlain is the hero of the piece. The Free Beacon has commissioned Andrew Roberts to cast a historian’s eye on the proceedings. The heading of Roberts’s review deems it The Edge of Nonsense.

Roberts is not entirely negative, but the minus outweighs the pluses: “The movie Munich is well-written (based on Robert Harris’s bestselling 2017 thriller), lavishly produced (by Netflix), fast-paced—and an absolute historical travesty.” Roberts extracts humor of a kind from the film’s historical mash-up:

Neville Chamberlain was such a poor wordsmith that this movie is reduced to quoting (without attribution) the words of Winston Churchill about people “falling below the level of events,” a phenomenon of which Chamberlain was the primary exemplar. Churchill is not even mentioned in this movie despite its several scenes of the House of Commons, which was where he made the greatest critique of the Munich Agreement.

“Do not suppose that this is the end,” Churchill prophetically said of Chamberlain’s sacrifice of Czechoslovakia. “This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Churchill was proved totally right within a matter of months, whereas for all this movie’s attempted advocacy, Chamberlain is still wrong eighty-four years later.

Roberts is quoting from Churchill’s brilliant October 5, 1938 speech condemning the Munich Agreement. The speech is is posted online in its entirety here. Churchill’s speech stands the test of time. With Roberts’s capable assistance, the film should be consigned to the ash heap of history.

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