Finally saw Munich the other night and to be quick about it there is a reason that it didn’t get a Golden Globe nomination for best picture. Stevie did get a GG nom for Director but the film is a fuzzy mess and doesn’t do half a good a job as Match Point does which details the other end of the spectrum in terms of guilt and remorse. But maybe it’s because the character in Match Point under question isn’t jewish. (But the same point was made in Crimes and Misdemeanors with a Jewish character.)
There were some nice things in it and I even suffered a case of deja vu during my viewing but the broad moral brush stokes that Stevie paints with don’t show the detail of the idea that he is trying to get across. Like I don’t know why I need to see evidence that the main character went to cooking school. The stunt double chef that they brought in for that scene is ridiculous attention to detail that distracts more than it conveys anything interesting. The scene in the Godfather, as a counter example, where the guy is teaching the younger guy to cook for 30 guys is much more touching and really shows a love of food and how like family these mafia toughs are. Now that I think about it, The Godfather is probably a good comparison film for Munich.
Sure there are lots of technical things going on in this film that I don’t even see. Seamless effects shots which Spielberg has perfected could legitimize a best director nom. I liked the shot that started as a reflection in some shiny silver door knocker or something. But where I was wooed by pizzaz I was lost and disinterested in story. The film tries too hard to be nonchalant and non-obvious which points out its obviousness.
The weird thing about it for me though, ***POSSIBLE SPOILERS*** is Stevie’s weird use of sex. Now I haven’t seen every movie that he has ever done but it seems that whenever there are naked women involved there is some sort of violence or threat of violence not far behind. The Dutch spy bearing breast to stave off her retribution execution is one weird example (weird because of its sexual politics: she is the black widow, luring men into her trap with sex and offering herself to save herself she’s struck down with the most single orgasm phallic guns that I have ever seen.) The only other time I remember flesh in a Spielberg flick was in Schindler’s List shower scene where the threat that the women are going to get gassed is counterpoint to their nudity. And finally, back to Munich, the final sex scene between the protagonist and his wife (the other time we see them after sex don’t we, not during?) is reminiscent of Italian horror films or 80s slasher flicks where sex is the instigator of some psycho-trauma. The idea that this guys actions have consequences that he didn’t imagine is fine. But like I said, Match Point makes a good argument in the face of the altruism shown by Spielberg. If it were a debate competition, Match Points wins.
Producer Kathleen Kennedy was commenting that the film was marketed wrong or something and that is why it was doing poorly. That maybe, but it isn’t meditative block buster that she thinks it should be.
Finally, the costumes are excellent. Really cool. Maybe even too cool than the period really was. Like an idealized 70s. And as my viewing partner noted though, the pubic hair was definitely NOT 70s.