Monday, 30 January 2006


We went to see Spielberg's latest, Munich, on Sunday. I liked it.

I liked the way in which it portrayed the Arab-Israeli conflict. It doesn't go deep down in its analysis and depth, but it manages to show the conflict's contradiction: Both sides are right and yet both sides are wrong, and most of the stuff each side is doing only causes things to grow even worse.
I liked its authenticity. Obviously, a lot of money has been poured in order to make things look and feel the way they did in the early seventies. Shot in Malta, they even made Tel Aviv's beach look the way I remember it to look from my early childhood, way before the current promenade was built. The airport, the prime mister's place - all look very authentic. Even Eric Bana's Israeli accent was good.
As I said before, I like Eric Bana. Local sources say he used to be famous for doing funny gigs at Melbourne's Footy Show (zero points for guessing what that show is about). Personally, I find in him most of the qualities I used to find in a certain Harrison Ford, even if his face reminds me of Shlomo Haguel. This time around he has center stage: The entire film revolves around him, and in accordance with Spielberg's simplicity policy, his is the only character that's developed in the film.
I liked the film's production values. The sound, the excellently recorded music, the film's grain-ness that makes it look like a seventies' newsreel. There is no doubt Spielberg is a master of film making and he seems to surround himself with the best people around.

The perfect film? No.
Just like me, Speilberg tends to stretch things out.
Often enough, he assumes this deductive role. Bana is almost caught looking at the cinema's audience and preaching Spielberg's thoughts. It's not as bad as most American films do it lately - it's not a dictation yet - but for a film that feels European this is definitely still an American film.
I mentioned production values already. As nice as they are, Spielberg often overdoes it: Every scene has the camera located in this spectacular angle; do it once or twice and it's ingenious, do it all the time and it draws attention to itself. Same goes for lighting, editing... I know the world is not as simple as we would like it to be, but Munich, in my mind, would have been a better film if Spielberg would have stopped trying to prove to the world that he knows how to make a film.

Overall, I very warmly recommend this story about a guy "coming of age" with the Arab-Israeli conflict. And as if to prove my point from my pre-blog days review of War of the Worlds, the film ends with a shot of the Twin Towers.

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