The Munich pile-on is turning

The Munich pile-on is turning into a shocker. I’m quite surprised by what’s happening here. A rebellion of the critical elite…a refusal to fall into line…a resounding f.u. to Steven Spielberg and his media pal, Time‘s Richard Schickel, who sang the film’s praises last weekend. The New Republic‘s Leon Wieselteir (i.e., “The Washington Diarist”) says that “the fakery is everywhere” in this Oscar-bait drama. He calls it “powerful in the hollow way that many of Spielberg’s films are powerful. He is a master of vacant intensities, of slick searings. Whatever the theme, he must ravish the viewer. Munich is aesthetically no different from War of the Worlds, and never mind that one treats questions of ethical and historical consequence and the other is stupid.” And Boxoffice Magazine critic Ray Greene is calling it “a shockingly mediocre and schematic movie…a bad pastiche of James Bond and John le Carre than the drama of ideas its director so admirably aimed for.” I was mezzo-mezzo about Munich, calling it a pretty good film but definitely not a slam-dunk in the Best Picture, but man… these other guys really don’t like it. Who could have foreseen that a presumably Oscar-worthy end-of-the-year Spielberg statement movie that was called a “secret masterpiece” by Time would be getting jabbed and maybe even bruised this early in the game? I’m shocked at this, and I’m told that more blows are yet to come.