**/**** Image A Sound A
starring Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Ciaran Hinds, Mathieu Kassovitz
screenplay by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth
directed by Steven Spielberg
by Walter Chaw Violence begets violence, terrorism begets terrorism, corruption begets corruption, and on and on up and down the self-righteous homily scale. Some time during the third hour of Steven Spielberg's slapdash Munich, the small lessons of this huge picture begin to feel like a ten-penny nail pounded into the middle of your forehead. There's possibly no other director who could have brought this film to fruition with such speed (principal photography began on the day Spielberg's other 2005 release, War of the Worlds, opened in the United States), but for as remarkable as that accomplishment is from a brinkmanship standpoint (about $250M-worth of film in one calendar year? Priceless), the stress begins to show in Munich--the first Spielberg film in memory so hamstrung with amateurish thematic visual concepts that you begin to wonder whether an editor fresh off the bus took over the picture's composition. Still, credit is due Spielberg, almost as well-known for his inability to resist tacking on unearned happy endings as for his savant-like conversance with the medium, for crafting a picture that's morally ambiguous (if only fitfully, and then torturously, so) as well as for daring to whisper that as a direct result of the best intentions of the bloodlust of "civilization" and Old Testament logic employed by the "good guys," the world may actually be a more dangerous place now than it was thirty years ago.