The film arrives at, politically, today's classic liberal cri de coeur against the war in Iraq: It's taking too long. There's no plan. It's too violent. It's degrading us. We can't be like them. Too many people are dying. It'll never end. How did we get into this mess? Make it go away.That pretty much sours me on seeing the movie.
Spielberg has attracted, even before the fact, a great deal of criticism for the crime of moral equivalency; that is, he shows how at the ground level, the ideologies tend to vaporize, and you are left with the squalor of violence. You can hate a man, yes, for what he has done and what he represents, but at a certain point, it's difficult to bear that in mind. If you shoot him in the head, he reacts exactly as a man who is innocent would react: There's really only one way to react to a bullet in the head. The movie is about the cost of such repetition, and how it kills the soul.And that makes me interested again. I do have problems with moral equivalency, but, I can see that movies can be made without forcing a moral judgment and just providing the telling of the story as it happened. The first quote makes me sure that Spielberg hasn't done that though.
Bruce Thorton at VDH Private Papers goes into the topic of Art Needs Moral Vision.
Technical or artistic skill cannot compensate for moral confusion. This simple truth about art is as old as Plato, and applies to popular art like the movies as much as it does to high art. No matter how brilliant the technique or artistry, if the moral vision is corrupted or incoherent, the work of art fails and deserves condemnation. Indeed, works that combine such skill with moral corruption are dangerous, for their technical brilliance can tempt the unwary into ignoring or even accepting their moral or ethical shortcomings.That is interesting. I haven't seen any place else take this tact. HasSpielbergg created a film that intentionally provides moral equivalency by not taking any stand in message? Or is his methodology intentional?
This danger is what makes popular art, especially movies, worthy of attention despite their transience, particularly now, when sophisticated cinematic techniques are as widespread as the moral relativism masquerading as sophisticated insight. Munich, the latest movie from one of HollywoodÂs most esteemed directors, illustrates this unholy alliance of cinematic brilliance and moral confusion all too typical of most popular entertainment.
Powerline also links a Victor Davis Hanson Op-Ed.
When terrorism goes to the movies in the post-Sept. 11 world, we might expect the plots, characters and themes to reflect some sort of believable reality. But in Hollywood, the politically correct impulse now overrides all else. Even the spectacular pyrotechnics, beautiful people and accomplished acting cannot hide it.He goes on to provide examples of movies like Syriana and Flightplan.
Instead, moviegoers can anticipate before the opening credits that those characters who work for the American government or are at war with terrorists will likely be portrayed as criminals, incompetents or people existing on the same moral plane as killers.
There is also the Moral Equivalence theme:
Moral equivalence is perhaps the most troubling of Hollywood's postmodern pathologies Â or the notion that each side that resorts to violence is of the same ethical nature. Steven Spielberg best summed up the theme of his recently released film about the 1972 murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics and the subsequent Israeli hunt of the perpetrators: "A response to a response doesn't really solve anything. It just creates a perpetual-motion machine."This is the Cycle-of-Violence theme that Thorton discusses as well. Personally, I find the cycle of violence argument baffling. Hanson states the reason quite clearly.
Spielberg's "Munich" assumes just such a false symmetry between the killers who murdered the innocent athletes and the Israeli agents who hunted them down Â each in their own way victimized and caught in a cycle of "perpetual" violence.Killing a killer isn't the same as killing an innocent. Basically the same logic I see in the morality of the death penalty.
Actors, producers, screenwriters and directors of Southern California live in a bubble, where coast, climate and plentiful capital shield the film industry from the harsh world. In their good intentions, these tanned utopians can afford to dream away fascist killers and instead rail at Western bogeymen Â even in the midst of a global war against Middle East jihadists who wish to trump what they wrought at the World Trade Center and Pentagon.Heh. I like that last line.
If Hollywood wants to know why attendance is down, it is not just the misdemeanor sin of warping reality, but the artistic felony that it does so in such a predictable manner.
It's apparent that Hollywood has missed the last two elections. They miss the indicators that a very large section of country doesn't agree with their views and there is another large sector that is moderate enough to disagree as well. If they want to make more money, they should try not to put such large volumes of money into movies that will be seen as anti-American. I don't go to movies for a lecture, especially from a voice that I have little to no respect for.