I went to go see Munich. I had to drive down to Nashville to catch it at the big movie theater, since the local one was no longer playing it. I remember reading in Iraq how Munich was being called the movie of the year and all this stuff. I was skeptical — Spielburg’s most recent films have been questionable to me, ever since A.I. (I perhaps inappropriately defend A.I. I admit it). I didn’t like Catch Me If You Can very much. It seemed overly indulgent (and a waste of what was awesome material, a kid who’s encouraged by his father to be a con man), and so did the next Tom Hanksathon, The Terminal. War of the Worlds was, well, not fun. It was stupid. Who makes an alien invasion a subplot to yet another retarded broken family story?
It seemed to me like Spielburg’s just forgotten how to make fun movies that thrive off the energy of the screenplay or story.
So Munich, about a fictional hit squad unleashed by the Israeli Mossad to execute facilitators of the Olympic hostage disaster, should have a badass storyline to work with. I mean, fucking political intrigue with Golda Meir! Evil terrorists! Underground assassins! Regret, repugnance, death, and despair! Right?
Munich seemed to me like Spielburg was trying too hard to make an important film. There’s something extremely visceral about the Muslim radicals in the way that they devote themselves to a cause and love their families and think that they are doing the right thing, going through with crazy schemes to get closer to paradise. And the Israelis (particularly the Mossad) live day-in and day-out with the subconscious idea that they’re fighting for their survival. They’re surrounded by the enemy constantly. They are told to do anything to ensure their safety.
Spielburg muddled the film with stupid scenes that were supposed to parallel or haunt both the hit squad’s actions and the hostage crisis. For instance, I don’t get why Eric Bana sees flashes of the hostages dying as he fucks his wife. “Honey, you turn me on so much it’s like a helo full of Jewish hostages getting shot as a terrorist freaks out!”
While I’m on the subject, I hate when we’re supposed to see something through someone’s eyes, yet what we actually see is a third-party view. What, is that fucker like able to live out of his body or something? So much effort is spent on getting into the mind of a character, but we can’t even see important flashbacks through their eyes?
Anyway. It seemed like Spielburg compromised his integrity by trying to pay homage to his Jewish heritage. It’s just totally not interesting. And he shows the “human” side of the evil Arabs being successful people in non-Arab countries. Are they just normal hard-working people with extremist leanings? Or are they trying to blend in to avoid danger? I have no clue. And the whole thing with his wife is just confusing. There’s no relationship there, it’s just some woman who makes cameos every once in a while. “Oh, my husband disappears for months at a time and is doing all this secret stuff…that’s really neat! Hee hee! PLOP! Out comes a baby!”
Spielburg brings in the idea that blood only brings more blood at the end but this too is just more boring moralizing. I mean, do we fucking care? Is movie-watching supposed to be didactic?
Can you imagine if in the Indiana Jones movies, he spent half an hour showing how maybe the Nazis were more human, deeper than we give them credit for, instead of leaving them as the comical, absurdly strict and humorless German kraut Nazi goose-steppers we’ve come to know and hate? Can you imagine if Indiana Jones developed a guilty conscience?
(edit: My buddy MonkeyPope reminded me that Spielburg directed Schindler’s List. I’d forgotten that. I am not sure why that movie turned out so good and this one turned out so bad. Maybe we just know the German Nazi better than we know the Muslim extremist.)
Quite frankly I just don’t understand how I can be so bored and turned off by this movie when I am so intensely fascinated by the Israeli intelligence services and by the call to jihad of the Muslim terrorists. It’s as if I had a naked supermodel grinding in my lap and was like, “Boy, I could really play some Freecell right about now.”
On a brighter note, before Munich, there was a trailer for what looks to be an awesome movie: Why We Fight. It’s a documentary about the effects of contracting in the militaristic culture of the U.S. government. About how defense contractors are capitalizing on the Global War on Terrorism which no one else seems to be benefitting from. This war is hot money, and not only that, the worst kind of hot money, that of opaque, no-bid, nepotistic contracts.
So, yeah, hurray for us! Go USA!