But it offends me neither as a Jew, nor as an Israeli. Nay, it offends me as a lover of cinema.

Moral equivalency be damned. Munich was just a crap movie.
Cliche, didactic, cheesy, with terrible dialogue, uninteresting characters with shifting but indiscernible accents, a boring and overly simplistic plot, lose ends, and general unbelievability.

I can really enjoy the spy/assassin drama when done well, even when it’s fluffy material. However this movie took an interesting subject matter and completely botched the execution, not unlike the laughably clumsy and inefficient mossad team itself.

They went through the motions of their missions as if they were a rag tag team with absolutely no formal training in this sort of thing. I would expect more intelligence and planning from Harriet the Spy.

Cinematographer Januz Kaminski, beloved alumni of my alma matter, seemed to have lost his ability to use basic lighting techniques to create beauty and aid basic believability.

Screenwriter Tony Krushners anti-Israel comments bother me less than having to had listen to line after line of dialogue with less nuance and fluidity than people in my second year screen writing class were able to come up with.

The movie rests on it’s so called “controversy”, having dealt with touchy a subject, but it lacks the quality needed to justify itself.

In short, total shite. Unworthy of its budget, attention and an embarrassment to the genre.

About the author

Laya Millman

22 Comments

  • Oooh, while we agree on most points, I completely disagree on the cinematography. I also don’t think the story is uncompelling. It’s a fine thriller if not exciting. But yes, much of it sucked but please don’t make me defend this movie.

  • Seriously TM. Munich sucked. Right now I have to decide if it sucked as much as or more than Sideways. I was simply not entertained, annoyed by the hokiness of it – particularly the final sex scene – good lord that was awful. It was cloying, predictable and slow, though at times it was so bad it was funny. And they say this is an Oscar calibre film? G*d help us.

  • Truthfully Spielberg is a major turd.

    Apparently he claims when he was younger all the kids in the neighborhood would taunt him unmercifully, Now we know why.

  • I’m so sick of these unresolved father/son conflicts in all of his movies : Indiana Jones, AI, Catch me if you Can. Did the SS get molested by his dad when he was making those cheesy WWII movies?

  • I don’t know where to begin, but I will start with giving credence to the fact that, yes, the film “Munich” could have been better in so many ways: ie., use reliable sources for one… and I’ll end there but I feel that it was important for Spielberg to make this film.
    For years now, the American and International Jewish communities have been asking why so many of their respective, prominent Jewish citizens, refused to speak out about the conflict in Israel (insert whatever word you wish instead of my choice of “conflict”). Now, flash forward to the present, passing through the bloody years of the intifada and 9/11. I can remember reading so many articles in the LA area Jewish newspaper, magazine, “throw-away”, whatever you want to call it, asking why Spielberg (among other famous Hollywood Jews) was remaining silent throughout all of this. Now, we have a response from the “man himself.” Was it the one some of us were hoping for? Not quite, or so far off the target we were hoping for it’s beyond our comprehension.
    I am grasping at straws here, but I have to keep thinking, “At least he spoke up…” Now his reasons for speaking up are most likely veiled in some paranoid, post-9/11, PTSD syndrome, but he spoke up.
    Before I end, I’ll just end with a true event that occured in a teacher’s lounge not far from Los Angeles: “a group of teacher’s sat around the lunch table discussing current movies. One of the teacher’s at the table asked if anyone had seen the film “Munich.” Only one of them had, but the rest of the teacher’s hadn’t. Some of the teacher’s stated that the movie probably wasn’t so good, plus, they wondered, did anyone know if the story was even true? Did such an Olympic tragedy occur? A tragedy like the one portrayed in this movie could never have happened in real life: imagine people scaling a fence and murdering athletes, while the world, watches and does nothing. This could never have really happened… To which, my mother (who was the only teacher who had seen the film Munich) stated , ” Yes, this event actually happened. Yes, those athletes were killed. It’s not just a movie, those men are dead.”
    I have to say, that this example and so many others I have of young, 20-something Jews, who knew *nothing* about Munich, before the film came out… now, know about this horrible event. So, on that note, I’m glad this film is out there, and we can take from it what we will…

  • middle,
    i found the cinematography to be pretty derivative and quite uncompelling. There were times that Kaminsky’s love of the bright spot distracted from the movie itself. I also didn’t like the slight desaturation of color, I felt that that choice, combined with the overall mise en scene made it look and feel cheap like the 70’s flash back sequence in a TV crime drama.

    Encino, I don’t know about molestation, but my understanding is that Speilberg didn’t have much of a relationship with his father growing up, if that explains the little lost boy looking for a home and father figure theme in every spielberg movie.

    One good thing I can say about the movie was I’ve never seen a film feature a pregnant sex scene before. That was pretty cool.

    And it was also fun seeing it with an audience full of Israelis – they laughed in places of absurdity I don’t know if American audiences would pick up on, and even booed at a few of the lines. It was almost like being in a theater in on the South Side of Chicago

  • There is an interesting article in the latest edition of the New York Times Review of Books by Henry Siegman that brings up some interesting issues regarding the movie.

    I feel that any vehicle that brings the talent of Eric Bana to the screen is a worthwhile project.

  • Remember what lines people booed at, Laya? I was especially concerned by the couple lines at different parts of the movie that suggested that Israelis founded Israel by just taking the land, i.e. by force, which is just so far from the truth.

  • I’ll have to give a more detailed response somewhere else, but I’d have to say that despite all of the films shortcomings, that if you take a big step back, this movie was a net good for Israel:

    1. Most movie-goers nowadays don’t remember the Munich Olympics (or weren’t alive), so this film re-introduces into the popular culture this tragedy that befell the Jewish nation (people and state).

    2. The American movie-go’ers will naturally identify with the Israelis as fighting “a moral war on terrorism”, as evidenced by the Mossad team delaying the hit in Paris so that the target’s wife and daughter can leave the area.

    3. The movie is a very “Jewish/Israeli” film. It is chok-full of references that only someone quite knowledgeable about Israel and Judaism would pick up on (i.e., mezuzahs, menorahs, using Yiddish and Hebrew terms, like ‘Yekke’). Honestly, the average American would miss most of these references. And the scenes of 1970’s Israel were spot-on: the scene at the Prime Minister’s residence looked just like my aunt & uncle’s place in the 1980’s. 😉

    So say what you will, I think the movie was a net benefit to us.

  • Spielberg should leave the moral heavy lifting to epopel who are better at it and stick with what he’s good at.

    Raiders of the Lost Ark absolutely kicked ass. Tha;s Spielberg’s real milieu and he should stay there.

    Haven’t seen Munich, not gonna. Schindler’s List, or, should I say, the moralizing and posturing that surrounded it, turned me so off that I’ve been leery of Spielberg ever since when he’s in his mussar mode..

    And I know what you mean about all of the “father-son conflicts”. War of the Worlds was a classic example. A billion people need to get killed so some snot-nosed punk can realize his father’s not a total schmuck? Jesus.

  • taltman – I disagree somewhat. I think most american are sick of the “war on terror” and see the whole Iraqi invasion as a mistake. If they “identify with it, they will probably identify with the futility of the fight, a clear message in Munich.

    the “jewish” content seemed overly contrived. I don’t think anyone could miss a room with three huge and prominent menorah. It was like, yes, their Jewish, we get

    I really don’t see how its good for Israel, if anything, it makes our best stories be boring.

    Ano, not off hand, if i remember some, I’l get back to you.

  • A pathetic movie. Must say that ive never been a big fan of Spielberg films.
    In Munich he fails to develop characters realistically, many of the scenes look acted are poorly edited and badly shot(im shocked that this film may win an oscar for best film). Sad times for the industry.

    Take a movie such as the “City Of G-d” (although a different story altogether) it manages to build real characters with outstanding cinematography and you never want to leave the cinema. I was praying for the Munich to end 30 minutes into the film. A movie like this should never be shot entirely in english. It makes the film feel totally unreal.

    Munich had no character and was obviously not researched professionally or extensively. Do you honestly believe an Israeli “hit” team would be so unprofessional and careless. You’re talking about the most sophisticated and well respected intelligence org. in the world and you show them off as amateurs.

    I dont know how Spielberg does it. but he manages to get box office hits one after the other and yet in my opinion he is still an amateur.

    someone needs to remake this film and show spielberg how it should have been done! i bet half the budget could easily do it!

  • let us forget the film for a while and think about this:
    If someone came and kicked u out of ur home. but u refused so he killed ur father and sister and eventually took ur home and settled in it. What will u do? What will u do?!!!! Yeah, you will live side by side in peace!
    this is exactly what Israel have done to the Palestines.
    Your sins will come back and hunt u oneday.

  • AH: Come on. Your analogy is both a gross oversimplificaton and a distortion of the Middle East conflict. Can we at least agree that the movie sucked?

  • and if your own people convinced you to leave your house, telling you you would reclaim it and more as soon as they wiped another people into the sea, but then they lost the war and continued to exploit your suffering that in a sick and twisted war of propaganda because their manly egos were hurt by defeat… oh, nevermind. The movie still sucked.

  • Hmmmmm, nominated as of today for “Best film”, “Best Adapted screenplay” and (I think) “Besti director”.

  • Hmmmmm, nominated as of today for “Best film”, “Best Adapted screenplay” and (I think) “Best director”.

  • lets say something else what vrelley touched me in the movie a nice line something like this>>
    isreal was not found by isrealis. EXACTLY ISREAL would be toast infact they would not even exists with out my dollars and my weapons who were giving to them and still are, things gonna change ill tell u go let them do their own fucking war
    i bet if isreal did not have any support jusst like the arab countrys they would flame them in 2 days with out any hessitation so keep praying to the wall… and by the way movie sucked ass

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