Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The 100 Best Movies: #95

95. Munich (2005)

A very controversial choice, but Steven Spielberg's tale of the Israeli response to the terrorist actions taken by the PLO during the 1972 Munich Summer Games is one the best films in recent years. And 2005 was a big year for controversy especially in the Best Picture category at the Academy Awards, where Munich faced Brokeback Mountain and eventual winner Crash. As with most of Spielberg's lesser valued work, there are audiences who are divided on this film: they either love it or they hate it. What I love most about this film is not just Spielberg's unmistakable style. Nor is it the stellar cast (that includes Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Geoffrey Rush and the always welcome Ciaran Hinds). Nor is it John Williams' haunting Oscar-nominated score. Though an argument can be made for each of those brilliant elements, for me, it is the intelligent screenplay by Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) and Tony Kushner (Angels In America). Both screenwriters were criticized from both sides of the aisle claiming that the film was either too Pro-Israeli or too Anti-Israeli. What I found was that Spielberg and his writers were showing audiences the debate and where both sides were coming from. The scene I especially love is when Eric Bana's lead character is discussing Middle East politics with a PLO operative (touchingly played by Tony Award nominee Omar Metwally) and the operative has a short speech about "just wanting to find home and fighting to keep it." It really makes you think about a very polarizing issue and Spielberg is a master at that.

Next Post: #94

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