NYT gives positive review to Speilberg's MunichBreaking News
The film's title suggests that this is the story of what happened at Munich in September 1972, and it is, though only in part. Most of the action - and if nothing else, this nail-biter is a full-on action movie - takes place in the immediate aftermath of Munich, after 11 Israeli hostages were murdered by members of a Palestinian terrorist group known as Black September. Based on George Jonas's disputed book "Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team," and adapted to the screen by the oddball couple of Eric Roth and Tony Kushner ("Forrest Gump" meets "Angels in America"), the film pivots on five Israeli agents, who, recruited to exact revenge by a country that will officially deny their existence, zigzag Europe as they hunt suspects over months and then years.
As his tours of duty with the historian Stephen Ambrose suggested ("Saving Private Ryan," "Band of Brothers"), Mr. Spielberg can give the appearance of wanting to be seen as more than just a Hollywood director, particularly since he added "adult contemporary" to his playlist, mixing history in with his dinosaurs. That makes him a soft target, and "Munich" has already been strafed by op-ed attacks. The accusations might make sense if the filmmaker took us into the terrorists' homes for some moral relativism. But Mr. Spielberg is doing nothing more radical here than advancing the idea that dialogue ends when two enemies, held hostage by dusty history and hot blood, have their hands locked around each other's throats. You can't hold your children with your hands so occupied, though evidently you can send them off to war.
It would do a disservice to Mr. Spielberg to linger too long on the pre-emptive attacks on the film: more than anything, "Munich" is a slammin' entertainment filled with dazzling set pieces and geometric camerawork. Different palettes help keep the narrative flowing (there's no danger of becoming lost on the way from Frankfurt to Cyprus), imparting a contrasting vibe to each landscape: the bleached-out Israeli exteriors are as faded as old family photographs, while the verdant French countryside where Avner meets a mysterious intelligence broker called Papa (Michael Lonsdale) has the seductive tug of an idyll. This pocket of green and Old World civility, embellished from Mr. Jonas's book, is the film's shrewdest and most entertaining conceit: a movie within a movie, it is a vision of evil as both seductive romance and bureaucratic banality.
comments powered by Disqus
- Donald Trump Is Wrong on Mosul Attack, Military Experts Say
- Emmett Till memorial sign is riddled with bullet holes and has been repeatedly vandalized
- Posthumous pardons law may see Oscar Wilde exonerated
- Has an Election Ever Been Rigged in U.S. History?
- A short history of white people rigging elections
- Steven Runciman — historian, tease and professional enigma — is the subject of a biography
- Historian Eric Foner: Trump is Logical Conclusion of What the GOP Has Been Doing for Decades
- Ken Burns developing 'The Gene' based on Mukherjee's bestseller
- Does the 'Father' of the 1948 Ethnic Cleansing Narrative Really Want to Recant His Words?
- Max Boot wants to know “what the hell happened to my Republican Party?"