Munich reinforces the idea that—great Miltonian allegories notwithstanding—the notion of evil has become profoundly maladaptive. Today, saying our enemy is "evil" is like saying a preventable tragedy is "God's will": It's a way of letting ourselves off the hook for crimes committed in our name. Not incidentally, it's also a way for our enemies to let themselves off the hook.
Munich has been regarded in some quarters as an affront: How does Spielberg have the audacity to make a commercial thriller that questions the very concept of retaliation? And while we're on the subject, how does he have the audacity to make a sci-fi picture like War of the Worlds, which uses a Martian invasion to evoke the trauma of 9/11?
Well, it's too bad we don't have more mainstream narrative filmmakers with that kind of audacity. Munich is the most potent, the most vital, the best movie of the year.
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