January 08, 2006

In Defense of "Munich"

Sonny Bunch in the Weekly Standard has written a piece that I'm glad somebody wrote- the conservative case in favor of Steven Spielberg's "Munich," arguing that just because the film's characters have remorse about their mission does not mean the film is endorsing moral relativism.

On the whole, Munich is a finely-wrought character study of the effects of war on those who have to fight it--not an apologia for terrorism. By the movie's end Avner--gaunt, pale, and aged--is sleeping in a closet because he is afraid of retribution from Palestinian operatives. His fellow agents have been killed one by one and he now lives in fear, both for himself and his family....

One place where [Aaron] Klein and Spielberg would agree, however, is that, unlike the Palestinian terrorists, the Israelis took extreme lengths to ensure that innocents were not injured in their strikes. In the film, the team risks missing a target and blowing its cover to save the life of a little girl. Compare this to the Palestinian terrorists who have no problem with turning AK-47s on hogtied hostages. And then there is the deeper question of humanity: Avner understand the justness of his mission, but still struggles with the taking of life. The terrorists show no such qualms.

Bunch is right, of course, that "Munich" should not be taken as absolute truth. For that I recommend Klein's book, "Striking Back."

Posted by Stephen Silver at January 8, 2006 07:27 PM

Did you by any chance read the piece on Munich in the NY Jewish Week this week? It's called:
"Big Guns
Sometimes, a movie is only a movie: ‘Munich’ made simple."

Here's a synopsis:

Instead, it offered what might have been a deeper truth, one that those of us who think, write and scrutinize for a living are in danger of forgetting: Sometimes a movie is only a movie. And being a movie, “Munich” belongs less to the real world, in which debates about Zionism and morality rage uninterrupted, but to the cinematic world, where the rules are much simpler: The handsome man in white is good, the repulsive man in black is bad. It’s a cinematic staple as true for Bana and Craig as it was for Gary Cooper and John Wayne.

I think you'll find the piece to be of interest.

Posted by: jaws at January 8, 2006 08:53 PM
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