Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Munich (Steven Spielberg, 2005) 
With the exception of Schindler’s List, I haven’t been that big of a fan of Spielberg’s work. I respect that he has considerable skills in the craft of filmmaking, but I always find his films sterile and overblown. Munich is almost the exact opposite, a film that has tangible emotions but crafted in a way that makes it entertaining in typical Spielberg fashion. This is a film that has a moral ambiguity and doesn’t take a specific political side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but still creates empathy for the Israeli operatives. The one point where they are foiled by supposed CIA agents in an assassination attempt actually had me mad at the Americans. While this sympathy with the main characters could be a determent, I think it works in advantage for the film. The audience progresses as the characters do: at first gung-ho in their tasks, but as events progress, everything they’ve been doing gets questioned. I feel Spielberg is trying very hard not to take sides, and he is questioning the endless cycle of revenge and violence that has ensnared the debate. He does it tactfully, and even though the film is fairly simple in political terms, it’s still effective in the overall scheme. I was also really impressed with the filmmaking, as Spielberg adopts a more European, 1970’s visual style with all the handheld camera work and use of the zoom lens. Like Schindler’s List, Munich goes beyond the standard entertainment that Spielberg films usually give. When he does that, he makes films that I really like. The best film of 2005.