Thursday, May 25, 2006

Munich

is the most deeply powerful, deeply affecting movie I have ever seen.

I am astounded that Crash received the award for Best Picture.

It makes the Academy Awards into a joke.

Spielberg is absolutely brilliant. The colors in which the movie is shot, the contrasts between the rich colors of the kitchen-store and gourmet meals as opposed to tense situations, the soundtrack, and the acting...astonishing.

Eric Bana...is astounding in this performance.

Avner is one of the most human characters ever relayed to the silver screen. His thoughts, his emotions, his reactions, and the subtlety of his characterization is remarkable. The scenes themselves are so subtle. This is not an over-the-top action movie; it is not high-minded and condescending or patronizing either. This movie asks questions.

I don't see how anyone could be upset that Spielberg compared the Palestinian terrorists to the Israelis. His comparison did not assign blame, unless it was assigned to everyone. It simply raised questions, difficult, disturbing questions. Everyone was human, no one was made into a caricature, an exaggeration, some black-and-white person. Everyone was three-dimensional. This movie is dark in tone, but it is definitely not anti-Israel, anti-Zionism, or pro-Intifada.

The scene that I found most chilling and most compelling was when Avner feels he's being hunted. He checks every room, looks under the bed for a bomb, disassembles his telephone, gouges open his television set, and slits his mattress. Then, still exhausted and soul-weary, he sleeps in the closet. There is a close-up of his face, and his expression is terrifying because he is so weary, his eyes red-rimmed and saddened, pain reflecting from his expression. When will this end?

I don't have the words to explain how much this movie moved me.

20 comments:

Ezzie said...

I haven't yet seen it, but you're not the first to say that it wasn't as anti-Israel as some made it out to be. The only issue I've heard that some still complained about was he seemed to overly humanize the terrorists - any take on that?

More importantly... Welcome back?!

Chana said...

The movie, in my opinion, wasn't addressing guilt. When it came to who was guilty, it was obvious that the masterminds of Black September were the culprits. The question was, what does this accomplish? After all, for each man they kill, they just set up a worse and crueller one in his place! And Ephraim, Avner's "employer" responded, "What, I shouldn't cut my fingernails because they grow back?"

Humanizing the terrorists would have been saying their cause is justified and they are not guilty. Spielberg emphatically did NOT say that. He showed how each side believes in it's own cause, and the graphic depiction of the murders at Munich showed that the Black September men were definitely guilty. The question is in the response- what are we accomplishing?

There is a scene where the PLO and Israelis sleep in the same room. It's not an "overly humanized" situation- it's a true situation. It is too dismissive to claim people are animals, beasts, brutes and thus insinuate they do not understand right from wrong, cannot love. It is not true. It was not true of the Holocaust and it is not true now. The movie is excellent.

Jewish Atheist said...

Yay! You're back.

I still need to see Munich. People always overreact when terrorists are portrayed as people. Of course they are people and it's in everybody's best interest to recognize that so we can respond intelligently.

Without even seeing Munich, though, I can agree that Crash should not have won. It was good, but probably not even in the top five movies last year.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Welcome Back!

(And I still need to see the movie)

Dovid said...

Chana, first of all, welcome back. Second, even if the movie is exactly as you describe, just a question of method, not a moral equation, I'd still condemn it. We can sit and second-guess ourselves again and again, but that won't get us anywhere. We need to instill unshakable principles in our response to terror. Thinking of the terrorists as "humans" will only paralyze us and affect our response. Maybe when the terrorists see us as human, we'll see them as the same. But until then, giving them any identity that can possible evoke an ouce of compassion is nothing but downright treasonous and dangerous.

Peace :)

Ezzie said...

Thanks for the response. I really need to see it for myself.

Tobie said...

I read the book on which the movie was based (Vengeance, I think), and found it fascinating. What really hit you about it was the narrator. He wasn't the typical Israeli Zionist stereotype even at the beginning, and throughout the whole thing, you saw how disgusted he was with it, and the problems that he has with Israel, the army, the beaurocracy, etc. *possible spoiler, I haven't seen the movie* In the end, when he leaves Israel and ends up threatening to kill the children of the people at the consulate because he feels they're threatening his children...you get to see how the experience changed him. The only thing is, his is such an unusual and powerful personality to begin with that I wonder if it should be generalized to the Israeli attitude or morals or anything like that. The story is one of an individual, and I think that it gets taken to be one of a nation, and I don't know how I feel about that.

FrumGirl said...

Hey, I'm so glad you decided to stick around!

I haven't seen the movie, been told its not worth my time.... I'm glad to get a different perspective.

Charlie Hall said...

Welcome back!

'People always overreact when terrorists are portrayed as people.'

I haven't seen the movie yet; this may stimulate me to rent it. But the fact is that terrorists ARE people -- people who do very evil things. The better we understand their motivation, the better we might be able to deal with them effectively (preferably by getting them to stop being terrorists).

Jewish Sexpert said...

I must go and see it now. You have me all curious now!

Halfnutcase said...

i want to see it too now.

and chana, welcome back, we where all afraid you'd give up. thank g-d you didn't because then we would have missed you.

Anonymous said...

I think you’re going abit overboard with the movie. It was alright. The storyline was too absurd and the movie was too drawn out, repetitive, corny and preachy for it to be considered a very good movie.

Over the past few years alone, munich wouldnt place among the top movies, by fans or critics.

Also, this line: -“Spielberg is absolutely brilliant. The colors in which the movie is shot, the contrasts between the rich colors of the kitchen-store and gourmet meals as opposed to tense situations, the soundtrack, and the acting...astonishing.”-

Sounds like youre trying a little too hard to come off as a sophisticated movie goer. Just relax and enjoy the movie.

Semgirl said...

YAY...You are still here. I have like zero time to watch movies. Could it be with all the blogs, emails, and IMs lol.

But if you recomend it, I will watch it..

Serendipity said...

The second half of the movie moved me. I unfortunately slept on the first half...due to being 32 weeks pregnant when I saw it.

You're right about the strongest scene in the movie.

Still not sure what to think about the whole film.

daat y said...

You are so wrong.Spielberg's point comes thru loud and clear,behind his sophistication.You got caught up in his moral equivalency.

Fun Dude said...

I will go and see it.

blackhatisfake123 said...

I have seen it and I liked it a lot. I dont think it deserved best picture and I dont think crash deserved it either. A question I have is how much of the movie is based on truth. I dont think it is so easy to penetrade the fortress of mossad documents. And if most of the film is made up it is worth nothing. Anyone can make up such a story.

Anonymous said...

only reason you think it should win movie of year is because you are jewish. i am too and i dont think it was that awesome. the message was sent but thats it. crash was cool because it intertwined everyone in the movie. thats extremely creative no offense to munich i loved seeing arabs get popped but it was a told stroy.

woodrow said...

Reading your post reminds me how subjective reactions to movies are. Rationally, I can't argue with you . . . but I was still bored to tears by Munich (and by Crash too for that matter!)

chava said...

jewish aethiest,and cheri hall terroriss are not people...to call them people is an insult to the human race and to portray them as "people" as though their cause deserves sympathy for any reason, as though a man should nto be held responisble for murders he has commited because he sired children, is absurd.any animal can do the same.that doesnt make them worthy of being spared justice. yet people buy it.

the very center of their culture is death, in every respect. there is nothing human about that, and they thrive on the "understanding" of bleeding heart westerners like you who'll buy into their sob stories.