Emmett Tyrrell

 What the agents did to hunt down and kill the terrorists went completely unexplained, as did the training they underwent to become so proficient in their grisly arts. "Munich" of course is a modern movie. That means there is very little explanation. Dialogue is kept to a minimum. That might be for the best. What dialogue there existed was banal and at times, as with all else in the movie, devious. There is one ludicrous scene where the Jewish hit team and a Palestinian terror squad spend the night together. Call it their sleepover. A conversation follows between a Jew and a Palestinian. It is perhaps the intellectual denouement of the movie. It is also an attempt by Spielberg to demonstrate moral equivalence between the two, which does not come off very well. Those who know the history of this conflict understand that the Israelis are defenders. The terrorists are aggressors and particularly brutal aggressors at that.

 Yet this simple-minded scene, the sleepover scene, is the great piece of wisdom Spielberg hopes to impart. "Munich" is Spielberg told Time magazine "a prayer for peace." Actually it is just another example of the camera's lies. Aided and abetted by sound effects, it jolts the senses with huge hands or other appendages thrust across the screen, towering men and women filmed from the ground up, from other weird angles, all to convey impressions that are dramatic but very unreal. Colors are brighter than real or darker than real. Sounds shriek, howl, and explode at the viewer. My friend from law enforcement has covered crime scenes and crimes themselves. She assures me the real thing is much less entertaining.

 According to the British newspaper The Guardian, Spielberg insists that "the biggest threat to the Middle East was neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis but intransigence on both sides." Given the Sharon government's generosity in its negotiations with the Palestinians, I guess we can understand "Munich's" errors. Spielberg is a Hollywood ignoramus. But he has another problem in his treatment of such serious issues as peace in the Middle East. His favorite artistic instrument is the camera, and the camera always lies. Maybe he should give up the camera for a lump of marble and a chisel.

Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
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