Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Tagline: The world was watching in 1972 as 11 Israeli athletes were murdered at the Munich Olympics. This is the story of what happened next.
My loud friend Alex and I went to go see this movie last night. I knew that it was going to be hard...but I had no idea how well thought out the sucker was going to be. The bottom line...the thesis...the idea behind it all was (as we took it) "how much poison will a man invite into his household"?
This stuff was HARD. I am one desensitized individual, but the eventual unraveling of the slaughter of those athletes told slowly through the course of this almost 3 hour epic really got to me.
The innocent victims eat bullets. Some potential innocent victims survive. Spielberg is famous for this stuff, remember the shower in Schindler's List that actually gave water rather than poison gas? Think like this and you will save your ass some serious stress at one point. Yes, this film is rated R on the violence tip. But there are lines that Spielberg just doesn't like to cross.
Ooooh, blood in the milk.
Bullets to the face.
Splatter to the wall.
A knife to the head.
Husbands and wives blasted to death together in bed.
Explosions and charred bodies hanging from ceiling fans.
I'm telling you, this makes the fingernail scene in Syrianna look like a nice walk through Main Street in Disneyland. SPIELBERG DELIVERS. When the camera is shy of the violence, the potential image that he sidesteps is better left inside the head. WHAT CAN I SAY? This stuff is crack cocaine. I am impressed. It has been 24 hours and I am still in a post-coital glow with this film. And I have seen a lot of film in my day.
This thing wrecked me.
Spielberg is once again THE MAN. I have personally ripped and distributed amongst my people many copies of the 5 minute scene from War of the Worlds where people get dusted. Why? BECAUSE THAT IS ALL THAT IS GOOD WITH THAT FILM. And what else has Spielberg done for me lately? NOT MUCH. I have to hand it to the man for Minority Report. But then I take it away from him with AI. Catch Me if You Can? Was I really supposed to buy the Sinque story in Amistad? There is a weird tug of war here. It has been like this for YEARS. Bottom line though? Jaws owns me every time. EVERY TIME I SAID. He got those fools to ACT. Acting is what happens in this film. He gets his crew to put it down. I am not even going to touch on how well Geoffery Rush was. But I am throwing his name into this mix because he was so convincing right down to his accent that I thought he was someone else until I watched the credits.
Munich is Spielberg back in action with the sickness. It just starts off...full speed ahead. No credits. No rolling names of people you've never heard of to start the film. Just the facts...rolling with a 70s graininess that INSPIRED me. The film is beautiful. In these days of crazy-assed jagged camerawork, Spielberg holds it pretty steady and lets the actors act. The credits roll at the end.
Enough Spielberg gushage. Next up is ERIC BANA. Yeah, I saw Chopper. Yeah, I saw the Hulk. Yeeeeaaah. I saw Chopper because I knew Bana had been tapped for the Hulk, and I needed that stuff under my belt before I saw the CG Hulk take out some hulk-dogs. GENIUS. This man can act. Chopper will make you wince, but then again, the sheer power of Bana's presence makes you wonder what is going down in Hollywood and why this guy isn't getting more, more, MORE. Yeah, I'm not going to mention Troy. That trash doesn't count as a film. I cut the scene where Brad Pitt jumps up and countersinks his sword in home-giant's neck and did a similar distribution project as what I mentioned with War of the Worlds. Why? That was the money shot and the only good thing about that damn film. Eric Bana is the man, and he was struggling with absolute crap in Troy. I forgive him.
Bana is the man in a big way, because even when you know that the film is cut so that they could paint tears on his face, the EMOTION IS THERE. Look people, I can count how many times I have cried in my adult life. When I have cried, it has been PAINFUL. Like, the tear ducts hurt because they aren't used to salty tear manufacturing.
Eric Bana as Avnir has a scene of pain/sadness, and he captures it. Think Brad Pitt learning about a head in a box at the end of Se7en. This is the kind of emotion I am talking about. Maybe the Se7en reference isn't good, because Bana TOPS THAT STUFF POINT BLANK. I am just trying to think of scenes in movies where men cry and it WORKS. The bottled up "I can't do anything about this situation and it is KILLING me" emotion. That is how Eric Bana conveys his emotion. Homeboy delivers.
Ok, so the plot. It was a Jewish Godfather plot. Familycentric all the way. Bana works for Mossad. It is 1972. Israel has to make a stand against the terroroists that killed their athletes. Bana is told that he can go to work for the government off the books. He won't exist. He can't come home until the job is done. Bana goes for it, and leaves his 7 month pregnant wife behind, for the cause of his country.
And this is the poison. He shoulda told these people to pound sand. But he doesn't. He hustles. He is dropping fools and planting bombs. He is sneaking home to see his daughter when she is born. This all is taking a terrible toll on him. And at the end, he is a paranoid shell of a man. His boss won't even break bread with him.
A particularly disturbing scene comes after he gets home and he is making love to his wife. But his brain isn't there, it is at the airport where the athletes were killed. I don't need to get too far into it, but the man is completely plagued with his past. So much so that when he collapses on his wife, the camera angle makes him look INHUMAN. he is no longer the bright-eyed, cooking father-to-be but some sort of monster. Unnatural.
Alex and I are both parents. Our combined broodpower clocks at 5. We constantly talk about what it means to be a man/father/husband in this society and what the hell is wrong with the whole thing. Munich is an example of the job taking the parent/husband OUT. Munich is about honor, and what is the best honor? Was it best for Avnir to serve his country? The rest of his life is totally jacked up as a result of his servitude. The cost is too great. The whole thing is saying, on a micro level that family comes first...and all of the bloodshed (including the execution of a female assasin that is meant to pull at your heartstrings in a pathetic way) means nothing. What point violence? Will violence solve the problem? This is the core, the visible level. But so many other factors weigh in on this film that I can't dismiss it.
The family concept is also explored with the family that Avnir scores his info from. Avnir is blindfolded, and when he comes to, he is surrounded by kids. The patron of the family is a gentle man (I think he was that bullet plucking, philosophy spewing dude from Ronin). The man actually asks Avnir to refer to him as "Papa". It is this whole concept of the value of family as a backdrop for extreme warfare for the protection of other families.
And to think that this stuff is loosely based on the truth? My head is SWIMMING. Thankyou Mr. Spielberg, I am not going to talk mess about you for SOME TIME.
Damn it was good.