“Munich” – Multiple Perspectives
Dingo defends Spielberg:
This is how Spielberg does such a good job of delineating good from evil. The main Jewish characters show both remorse and confliction for what they are doing. This is the line between good and evil when evil is committed. Four men are sent to do a job. That job is an evil task. It was a justified task, but none-the-less, an evil one. Killing, no matter how justified or necessary, is never "good." An eye for an eye is a justification, not a furtherance of good.
An evil job is easily done by an evil person.
An evil job is never done easily by a good person.
Thus lies the difference between good and evil when the task at hand is evil itself. Even when the good are forced to commit justified evil, the good will question. The evil will just do. In the movie, the Palistinians justified their actions as a desire for a homeland, but the means are never questioned.
That is not the criticism of “Munich” by most people I read either. People generally understand that the act of killing is unpleasant and emotional disturbing. And not only does an assassination unpleasant. Any killing, even killing in self-defense against an imminent threat is unpleasant. That is not the point of criticism.
Spielberg went beyond showing the psychological pain result from killing another human being. Spielberg repeats the Hollywood mantra that violence in all circumstance is futile. The main character did not merely fought the inner emotional/psychological battle result from his action. Avner toward the second half of the movie asked point blank what is the point of killing those terrorists since more violence men will just replace them. And I was shocked beyond word to hear the main character (a Mossad agent) said something so ridiculous that only a Hollywood elite would have thought of. He requested that instead of assassination, those terrorists should have been brought to trial in Israel. I was shocked but not surprise. Peaceniks have argued the same thing prior to the War in Afghanistan.
Bruce Thorton offers the best criticism of “Munich.” Go read the whole thing.
This popular take on the Arab-Israeli conflict is encapsulated in the phrase “cycle of violence.” The assumptions behind this phrase comprise a catalogue of modern moral pathologies. Most important is the therapeutic psychology that sees force not in moral terms — that is, as the instrument of a righteous or unrighteous choice and aim — but as a reflexive reaction to grievances and wounds to self-esteem. People who have been insulted, wronged, or denied various aspirations “lash out” in anger, provoking a similar reaction in those whom they attack. Thus the “cycle of violence,” a vicious circle that can be broken only by abandoning force and addressing the grievances that started the cycle in the first place.There is a clear distinction between the internal struggle to maintain one’s humanity when facing an inhumane enemy and the surrendering to the same enemy because it does not feel good to fight him. The former is bitter medicine, the later is sugarcoated poison. Spielberg simple does not know the difference.
…. The Israeli agents tracking down the murderers of Israeli athletes in Munich are defined for the most part by their agonizing moral doubts and ambiguities, incessantly reprising the mantra of “violence begets violence.” The Israeli bomb-maker makes a speech about how killing terrorists somehow compromises Jewish “righteousness,” which suggests that Jews can be righteous and worthy of our sympathy only as long as they remain passive victims, as they are in Schindler’s List.