By the year 1938, the Nazis had spread through Europe with enough aggression to draw the concern of other superpowers in the region, but the British government was convinced war could still be avoided. A summit was convened in Munich to hash out an agreement between Hitler and his westward opposition, with a goal of finding a resolution that would appease the fascists while stemming their expansion.
The new film Munich: The Edge of War walks viewers through the motivations, events, and aftermath of this momentous gathering by focusing on two of its key players. In the upcoming Netflix release, the first trailer for which arrived online just today, George MacKay and Jannis Niewöhner star as a pair of diplomats scurrying to keep both of their nations out of the annihilation we all know they were powerless to stop.
MacKay plays Hugh Legat, a civil servant of the crown tasked with finding a solution alongside his old friend and colleague, the German attaché Paul von Hartmann, portrayed by Niewöhner. Jeremy Irons also stars as Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, remembered today predominantly as the guy who allowed Hitler to continue his genocide until things got out of hand in Poland one year after the Munich meeting.
Legat is tasked with retrieving a crucial document exposing Hitler’s true intentions – not to establish peace, but rather conquer the world – from von Hartmann, who shares his old university mate’s wish to avert catastrophe despite the Führer’s wishes. The two must collude to get the evidence in the proper hands, all under the watchful eye of the Third Reich, including an appearance from Hitler himself at a high-power dinner for state officials.
Director Christian Schwochow may be perfectly suited to this trans-European job, as a German filmmaker whose most noteworthy item on his CV is a stint directing episodes of The Crown. Judging from the trailer, he’s checked all the crucial boxes for the genre – furtive rendezvous, narrowly evading exposure, bilingual murmuring, a race against the clock. History buffs will be chuffed.
Munich: The Edge of War will come to UK cinemas on 7 January and then Netflix on 21 January.
Published 6 Dec 2021
By Lena Hanafy
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