I went to see Munich on Monday night at the Gallery Place cinema here in DC (next to the MCI Center, where the Wizards beat Kobe and the Lakers the same night!). I was hopeful that Maestro Spielberg would give this tough, difficult subject a great cinematic treatment. Speilberg and "serious" pictures don't seem to meld in my opinion. I thought Schindler's List was a noble effort, but not very good as a film. I'm sorry to say, the same holds true for Munich. The picture is fairly bleak in tone and surprisingly brutal and graphic. The acting is solid, but the story is not strong enough to warrant nearly 3 hours. It is a grueling view, and the leap from "soldiers" carrying out their mission to guilt laden, grief stricken victims is not well done here. I'm going to offer a few details here with some mild spoilers, so if you don't want to know specific stuff, quit reading here until the spoiler ends... spoilers below.... ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The Bana character (our protaganist) is a bit droll until towards the end, when this grief seems to overwhelm him. But the grief is illustrated not in the deeds he and his company have done, but with the backdrop of what (purportedly) happened to the athletes in the Munich atrocity. We see flashback upon flashback of the Olympic debacle, which makes one wonder why the guilt trip. The hostage scenes are wonderfully done, and in many ways are way more harrowing than the rest of the film. If you haven't seen it, don't miss the HBO special on this event that came out about a year ago. I'm sure they will play it again...it is gut wrenching but amazing! One point in the film, Bana's group happens to meet with a Palestinian group, and Spielberg gives us a bit of dialogue between the two sides. I suspect this is to give the film a "balanced" view, but it doesn't work very well. A few interesting cinematic bits...there is one point when Bana and group are going to explode a bomb via a remote telephone interface in an apartment to take out one of the terrorists, but suddenly his daughter comes home. The crew wants to avoid taking out innocents, so they have to decide what to do. This is a reprise of Hitchcock's masterful bomb sequence in the British film Sabotage with Sylvia Sidney, and is perhaps the most engaging part of the entire film. With another nod to Hitch, one of the crew has to call the number of the apartment to activate the detonation sequence. We see a close up of the telephone dial, and I immediately bet that the last number dialed would be 6, which of course it was. An overly cute stylistic homage to Hitch's Dial M (6) for Murder! I laughed out loud, but cringed a bit at this, as this is the kind of stuff that makes Spielberg so good in less important works, but detracts from the seriousness in strong toned stuff. This is similar to the girl in the colored dress in Schindler's List, the dish contraption in The Color Purple etc. He can't let the story speak for itself...he HAS to insert some cinematic device, and it isn't necessary. We don't get to know very much about the crew's background, and that is a shame given the length of the film. We get tidbits in conversation, but not enough to really understand and appreciate why they are doing this. There is a "neutral" contact that is a catalyst for finding the terrorists, but they are not fleshed out enough either. There are a few double crosses between the crew and the neutrals, yet they seem to think they are helping each other, so it creates a bit of paranoia all around despite them being mutually helpful. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ end of spoiler All in all, an interesting movie, but not a very good one. The topic alone warrants attention, but I think Spielberg missed a real opportunity to step up to the big leagues as a "serious" director. He has such movie magic in him that I will see almost anything he directs, but here's hoping he will find the muse for his talents to make a tough toned film better. See this movie, but beware the squeamish...very violent and graphic!