Even before its Dec. 23 release, Steven Spielberg’s movie, "Munich," which Time magazine calls his "secret masterpiece," is creating angst among some Jewish leaders.
"After ‘Schindler’s List,’ he became the darling of the Jews," said one leader. "We’re afraid that he is now trying to balance the act. He may be trying to show that although he is pro-Jewish, he is not pro-Israel. This may be his anti-‘Schindler’s List.’"
The movie tells the story of Israeli agents who hunted down and killed 10 of the Palestinians linked to the Black September terrorist group responsible for the 1972 killing of 11 Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics. It is based on the controversial book "Revenge," whose accuracy has been questioned.
Israel’s consul general in New York, Arye Mekel, said he has not seen the film but is concerned that it fails to adequately deal with the "massacre of Israeli athletes."
"Rumors say that the movie doesn’t concentrate on that but rather on Israeli revenge," he said. "I know there is also concern among the families of the Munich victims. But we should wait until we see the movie before we pass judgment."
The movie, which reportedly cost $70 million and was filmed in three months this summer, was done in such secrecy that journalists were not allowed to visit the sets and only a few actors were reportedly privy to the entire script. And when Time movie critic Richard Schickel saw the film, he wrote in the Dec. 4 issue, it had just been completed and the movie’s star, Eric Bana, had not even seen it.
Schickel said in his review that it was a "very good movie," one that is "infinitely more complex than the action films it superficially resembles." And he wrote that the movie begins and ends with the murder of the athletes, even though it is primarily about the "secret war of revenge against the murderers."
But an unnamed movie critic at the Israeli newspaper Haaretz found the film "too simplistic and righteous" to adequately address the question of targeted assassinations.