Thursday, December 08, 2005

Roger Friedman Doesn't Do Irony

Judith discusses Roger Friedman's gushing review of Munich, as the "best movie of the year", here. He's impressed both with the film and the authenticity of its visual presentation:
And yet, as far as I can tell, there are no huge mistakes in "Munich." Even the music is from 1972 — Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" and Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" are from that year. The movie's look, from the sets, props, costumes and hairstyles to Janusz Kaminski's tinted cinematography, is also vintage.
Yet while the look and music may be entirely authentic to the time, what Roger Friedman fails utterly to understand is that the moral "ambivalence" of the film is entirely 2005 and not in the least authentic to the times. And least of all among Jews and Israelis who had only 30 years before emerged scathed beyond record from World War II and the Holocaust and developed their policy, as Jim Rockford reminds us here, in response to dealing with Nazis.

So encased within an "authentic" visual presentation, Spielberg has imported a sensibility utterly foreign to the times or the people who lived through it. Too bad Roger Friedman can't see beyond the appearance of the film to its content.

But, uh, you know, as long as it looks like it's real...

UPDATE: Warren Bell, at the Corner, who himself works in Hollywood, writes:
A reader who has seen it writes about the new Spielberg film:

"It's worse than you fear. It is both boring (unforgiveable) and tendentious about evil. It claims that fighting fire with fire is futile and useless.

It makes Jews in all the Israel scenes look a bit alien and weird. It is all about ambiguity. No one is right or wrong. It is a despicable film."

And then Bell adds: Why is this all so important? Because for most Americans, Hollywood frames the Jewish experience. The Holocaust especially has been brought to the forefront of public consciousness because of movies, including Mr. Spielberg's "Schindler's List." Now Spielberg, a prominent Hollywood Jew who has always been noticeably quiet about his support for Israel, makes a film that seems to draw moral equivalency between terrorist killers and those who kill terrorists. If the film continues to propagate the innaccurate but popular notion that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a "tragic standoff" as Spielberg himself calls it, where neither side has a right to the moral high ground, then "Munich" will do grave disservice to the "truth."
He only left out the part of using Munich as a way to discuss his ambivalence about the War On Terror, without alienating conservative American audiences into dropping him. For which he would lose revenue.


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