Sunday, June 18, 2006

Killers with a conscience

We finally watched "Munich" last night. It is well worth a viewing. I can see why it was controversial in some cicles, but that happens with thought-provoking films. "Munich" is thought-provoking indeed. "How does a society best respond to terrorism?" is the central question of the movie, and Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner don't answer that question. However, they do point out that violence can beget more violence in response, and that terrorists who are killed may be quickly replaced by people who may be even worse. Also, the members of the Israeli hit squad have deep ethical concerns about their activities, even as they kill the Black September leaders responsible for murdering the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. As in "Team America, World Police," we see that people like us need people like them in the shadows to keep us safe from even worse people. But we sure as shootin' need to give some thought to the results we want to achieve and use these shadowy figures to achieve those ends. "Hell if I know" would be my answer to the question posed by the film, but it seems worth it to explore the question and the other questions to which it gives rise.


Prof. Ormsbee said...

I don't disagree with you, but I thought the more interesting question asked by the movie was "what does perpetrating violence do to an individual, even when they think what they are doing is morally right?" I also thought that in some regards the movie was an internal question for Zionists. The seen where the toy maker basically says, this isn't my judaism, was deeply moving to me.

Prof. Ormsbee said...

excuse the atrocious gramar/spelling in that last post. gawd.

Randy said...

Yes, the corrosive nature of violence is a central theme of the movie. None of the main characters escapes unscathed--except for Ephraim (Geoffrey Rush), who doesn't seem to have much of a soul to begin with. As for the Zionist aspect, on the DVD, Steven Spielberg gives an intro to the film in which he denies that the movie is an attack on Israel.

doug said...

I enjoyed the films rich array of characters. I didn't ever feel like I was being preached too.
I got a little board with the killing while recognizing it was integral to the film. I loved the scene where the female agent, just before she gets killed, tries to seduce her assassins. The toll taken on the main character was predictable, either that or they did a superb job of describing his experience with ease and handed it to us on a silver platter. I’m usually drawn to tortured souls with hearts of gold and blood on their hands.

Hmmm, perhaps I fantasize that I could be a saint called upon to cut off heads for righteousness sake – sounds like something different from my current job.