Rated NR

Drama, Historical, Thriller
Every few years, Steven Spielberg makes a movie without dinosaurs and then expects critics to kiss his ass for it. Strangely, this time, he actually succeeded in doing something halfway intelligent. Munich is an imaginary version of what might have happened after the murder of the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics. Eric Bana plays a Mossad agent who is contacted by Golda Meir to head up a squad of counter-terror-terrorists. Their plan: Assassinate and terrorize the terrorists who have been terrorizing the Israelis. Shockingly, giving five men unlimited money and ammo causes things to spin out of control. While Spielberg does a nice job in both creating a thriller (his specialty) and bringing moral ambiguities to light (something he’s never shown much talent for in the past), he can’t quite overcome his intense Spielbergosity. To that end, he tacks on a pointless 30-minute final sequence that’s all about feelings and how hard it is to feel them, and then he lets the camera just sit on a shot of the World Trade Center. Hmm, I wonder what the reference is? Even though the final segment dumbs things way down, up to that point, Munich is a well-conceived and well-executed film, which is saying a lot considering its handicaps: Spielberg directs it; Tony Kushner (perhaps America’s worst living playwright) wrote it; and John Williams, who almost single-handedly destroyed cinematic music, scored it. All of them do their best to keep their schmaltz-pistols holstered, and, except for the final 30 minutes, produce a reasonably subtle and emotionally engaging film.


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