Wednesday, January 04, 2006

finding home


We all know Steven Spielberg has masterful cinematic talents - he has surpassed even the greatest of filmmakers to become the best director of pop filmmaking. Yet, like Hitchcock or Nick Ray before him, Spielberg often has an ability to take mainstream films and inject them with artistic integrity... films for the masses laiden with fascinating images and thought provoking ideas.


Of course the contradiction comes when he releases dreck like WAR OF THE WORLDS, his first film of this year (yes, Spielberg often is able to crank out two a year... astounding!!). He takes his popcorn shoveling job too easy... and really lets things slip. Again though, little traces of perfection can be scattered throughout the bad. WOTW definitely had some issues... but it had some compelling moments as well. This all leads us to MUNICH.


I think everyone can read a synopsis for themselves - and we have all heard the controversy about the film supposedly showing the Palestinian murderers as being sympathetic... and Israel completely founded in their response. Let's skip all of that for now and focus on what surprised me - the film is actually a very exciting suspense/thriller! Some sequences really got my heart pumping and put me inside the moment like nothing has before (except perhaps SAVING PRIVATE RYAN... but this film does not make the mistakes of RYAN!!). Some of the images that Spielberg has created are downright eye popping... not in the CGI monsters of LOTR eye popping... rather in the "this is real... this is REAL!!" way. MUNICH, as a thriller, is completely successful and entertains like nothing else this year!


MUNICH, of course, has some major political and ethical issues running through it as well. The opening Black September attack on the Israel Olympic team is at once heart pounding/jaw dropping stuff... but it is also scattered throughout the film, cross cut with violent responses by Avner's (Bana) group of hitmen. Palestinian leaders are murdered - bystanders are sacrified... blood for blood. Spielberg offers up a nearly demonized version of Black September (though, it is hard to sympathize with anyone who begets such violence!) yet reflects that same emotion with corresponding murders. The only reason we pull for Avner and his group is because we are along with them for their journey - we see their families... their struggle. Their acts are just as despicable!


I think this is why the film really began to connect with me - and why this film marks a new step for Spielberg. He gets lost in his own violence... gets lost in the unglamorous... sick... choices of his own people. Spielberg steps away from the material and gives the most honest response... honest work... he has ever done. What benefit does blood shed bring? The anger is fueled... and more lives are lost. I think Spielberg's lack of answers or understanding really enables the film to dig into your senses. There is no obtrusive arm leading your ideas... just astounding imagery questioning your sensibilities...


What is exciting about MUNICH is that it triumphs in its Thriller regards... it questions humanity and really challenges the viewer... and it also offers a multilayered mise-en-scene that really kept my attention. How Spielberg balanced the very difficult thriller/political elements is amazing... yet he takes this one step further and creates some compelling visual elements that are exciting to read into and watch throughout the film. Take for instance the odd element of food in the film - how Avner's character has a need to cook... and stare into an empty kitchen. So many interesting conversations about murder - home - the Jewish struggle.. are held over dinner... and the final line... the final image!!!! I am getting myself all excited about watching it again.


I have not seen BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN or CAPOTE or some of the other major films of the year... but right now - MUNICH is the most fascinating film I have seen all year and for quite some time. See it in the theater - let it take you over... experience it all... and come out asking questions and thinking about our world.. and what the hell we are doing to ourselves.

Yo

18 comments:

Sheriff Officer Greg the Bunny said...

looking forward to the experience. well spoke fino.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Boobies!

b.o.

Kern said...

Sounds awesome. I'm going to go as soon as I get some free time. Which is probably not soon enough.

Damfino said...

I am hoping sometime this weekend to see it again with Dan and Hol.

I just finished up Pretty Persuasion for Netfix... should have Crash coming my way.

PP was really disappointing.

Kern said...

What was PP? Who did it?

Deit Heimley said...

And I'm Back!!

Hello All! I've been on vacation for some week plus. And vacation for me means no computers, so I missed out Damfino's cruise recap and his buff pictures.

Anywho, took a bit to catch up, but I had mixed feelings about Munich. It just wasn't pulling me in like Brokeback or Capote. Hmmm, I wonder why that could be. Seriously though, it has been a weird and crazy holiday season.

Going to Brokeback this weekend with friends. Really looking forward to that. More the going out than even the movie.

I will have to see Munich now too. DAM! I hate it when there are more movies to watch than time to watch them.

Kern said...

Welcome back, Deit!!! I second the too many movies, not enough time thing.

Speaking of catching up, there may be a few articles at my blog that you might enjoy perusing if you have the chance...

krysta jo said...

I wholeheartedly disagree about Munich. I did not enjoy the violence, the unbelievable volume in the theater, and the way that the movie made the murders and assassinations all seem "ok." There wasn't enough of a personal side to the story for me. We knew nothing about the olympians - not enough about their families. We didn't really know a lot about the other assassins - just that they were odd and bought into the fashion trends of the day. Plus, in all honesty, I couldn't watch half of the movie because it was incredibly gory and disgusting. Therefore, I was not happy to be watching it and wished they would turn down the volume so I could have at least taken a little nap for my $8.50.

Damfino said...

KJ - this was not a Michael Bay film... violence was not to be enjoyed.

Sorry about the volume of the theater... I like it loud.

How the crap did the film make the murders and assisinations seem ok?!?!?!?!?

The poor olympians would have been another story... this was about the team of killers taking revenge.

You are right, Bana's Avner got most of the screen time.

I am not touching the final comment.

The gore was necessary... reality... this really happened... these people were murdered... revenge is not pretty.

Kern said...

Dissenting opinions! This is the mark of a movie I must see. I love any movie that can garner such diverse reactions from theatregoers...

krysta jo said...

Jedy - we already discussed this yesterday silly boy. I don't get into the gore, the filth, and the war nature of the movie. It all pretty much comes down to personal issues with the fact that the world isn't a peaceful loving place and I don't prefer to watch it in a movie theater. It's bad enough on the evening news. However, that said, if I had seen the preview BEFORE I went to the movie, I could have spared myself the horror of watching a nearly 3 hour movie in the middle of the night.

Ain't Right said...

Clearly on a different topic, but what happened Jed? No comments on the triumphant return of Scrubs. I know you saw them, I was there. And unless I'm mistaken there was some laughter had. Of course that might have just been me laughing at my own jokes.

Damfino said...

Scrubs kinda disappointed me... I wanted to write up the Munich stuff before it slipped my mind.

What did everyone think of Scrubs?

Kern said...

Scrubs? Ohhhh yeah...Scrubs. Ahem. Well about that...I was kind of watching special features on my uncut Sin City DVD, so I guess I kind of missed that.

I do believe I'll be staying away from the muffins...

onecrazylady said...

I enjoyed Scrubs last night. Can't wait for future episodes. Shame on all of you who missed it.

Kern said...

I feel the shame. Though that's more of an inherent shame, but the shame of missing Scrubs just adds to the load.

FlopTheNuts said...

I thought Scrubs was pretty good. Got some good laughs, as usual. One thing I'm not digging is Elliot at first at another hospital and then nowhere. What's up with that? Contract negotiations? Writing the character out? I'm sure I could find the answer after a bit of Internet searching, but why not get it from folks at DAMFINOBLOG? :)

Kern said...

Hey Flop! Happy new year!

Damfino said...

Bad writing - she left at the end of last season (drama!!!!) only to lose her job in the second ep!