Thursday, January 26, 2006


I watched Munich yesterday. This is the latest film by Stephen Spielberg, and it has been hailed as one of his best. Unfortunately, I don't agree. Spielberg's bests include "Jaws", "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", "Raiders of the Lost Ark", "Schindler's List", "Saving Private Ryan", and "Minority Report".

"Munich" felt disjointed. After a hurried opening to establish the atrocity of the Israeli team's kidnapping and massacre at the Munich Olympic games in 1972, the movie follows Israel's secret "mission" to exact revenge on the perpetrators of this crime. Many scenes follow of assassination after assassination. Killing begets more killing. Revenge begets more revenge. As the main character, Avner (played by Eric Bana), gets deeper into this "mission", he becomes disillusioned and paranoid.

It's a tough plot to "brighten". It's a bleak message. But the film seemed to be heavy handed in its delivery of this dark message. Spielberg does get his points across, but their presentation didn't seem as succinct as Tom Hanks uttering "Earn it."

I suspect that the outpouring of praise for this esteemed director has a lot to do with the subject matter (the parallels between Israel's "terrorist" retaliation and our country's own "war on terror" are plain). But as a movie, it fell short of cinematic greatness.

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