Steven Spielberg needs a vacation.
Just six months after the box-office smash “War of the Worlds,” the director is back in theaters with “Munich,” a slow, dark and melancholy film about the response to the slaughter of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics.
The film is a tad uneven at times, using both conventional espionage film tricks, such as a team of Israeli assassins killing each of the Arabs involved in the Olympics attack, and Spielberg’s usual bag of tricks seen in his other award-winning movies Schindlers List and Saving Private Ryan.
“Munich,” however, is without a doubt the strongest film Spielberg has ever directed, and a stark look at the cost of terrorism and whether killing the terrorists can achieve a positive result.
Spielberg has taken criticism from some who dislike the films depiction of the Munich attack and see the film as pro-Israel. On the other hand, some Jews feel the equivocal approach the main character (masterfully played by Eric Bana) is a betrayal of Israeli concerns. However, the films strength lies in the fact that Spielberg does not pick a side at all, but allows the audience to choose how it feels.
“Munich” is one of the hardest Spielberg movies to watch, demanding more of the audience than his past films. However, for movie watchers looking for an intellectually challenging film as the next wave of brainless blockbusters begins to crest, “Munich” is an excellent choice.