The new Netflix film ‘Munich: The Edge of War’, which premiered on the streaming service on January 21, is a pseudo-historical thriller that mixes fact and fiction, resulting in a middle-of-the-road movie that is fundamentally and, at times, forcefully at odds with itself.
The film, directed by Christian Schwochow, is based upon the best-selling novel ‘Munich’ by Robert Harris and tells the story of two men, a Brit, Hugh Legat (George MacKay), and a German, Paul von Hartmann (Jannis Niewohner), who were once chums at Oxford but had a falling out over politics when von Hartmann embraced Hitler in the mid-1930s.
Now, years later the two are mid-level diplomatic staff members, Legat for Britain and von Hartmann for Germany, but they end up working together to try and thwart British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain from signing the Munich Agreement in 1938.
You see, von Hartmann has seen the light regarding Hitler’s malevolence, and he is supporting a secret plot by some German generals to have Hitler arrested if he invades Czechoslovakia. But if Chamberlain signs the Munich Agreement, then no crime will have taken place when the German army rolls into Sudetenland as it won’t technically be an invasion, and thus the generals will waver, the plot will crumble and Hitler will be left to run amok.
In order to convince Chamberlain to leave the Munich Agreement unsigned, von Hartmann enlists Legat to show the Prime Minister a top-secret classified German document that details Hitler’s plans for the Third Reich’s aggressive expansion across Europe.
The major problem with ‘Munich: The Edge of War’ is that the film desperately wants to be a thriller but, due to it being a historical drama, it is devoid of thrills.