Anyway, the movies. Despite the complaints, we actually found Munich far more satisfying than we expected and at least worth seeing, even if the weeks documentaries told the narrative more effectively and 'truthfully'. What no-one can surely dispute is that Munich is Eric Bana's film through and through. Bana, whom I have otherwise only seen in the magnificently dark and bleakly hysterical Chopper, dominates the film. As Ben Marshall remarks in this week's Guardian Guide article:
You leave the cinema convinced that without this actor as his lead, Spielberg might just have ended up with the world's most expensive remake of Death Wish.Bana is brooding and tormented in a truly strong and moderately silent style: a definite cinematic throwback. Does the film work? I think so: whatever its faults as a documentary history, there is a compelling narrative here, albeit one effectively strung on one character. Some of the dialogue is clunky, but at least in one scene, knowingly so:
Daphna: We should stay at home.Overall, I would say that - as in so many cases of dramas 'inspired by real events' - that if you're looking for an accurate portrayal of events, go to a documentary [the Coen's played with this well in Fargo of course!]; if you want a human narrative that may draw you into the real life events, this fiction may be a start. It is problematic, but that is as much to do with the difficult subject matter and the nature of fictionalisation than with Spielberg. Blaming him is not the solution.
Avner: You are the only home I ever had.
Daphna: This is so corny.
Avner: What? That took a lot for me to say!
Daphna: Why did I have to marry a sentimentalist? You're ruining my life.
Avner: [to their newborn baby] Your mother's teasing me.
One great thing about seeing a film like Munich is you can pretty much predict the trailers: unlike works less identifiably 'art-house lite', where you can sometimes sit in wonderment at the bizarrely inappropriate selection of trailers on show, here it was obvious what we would get. The cinema had clearly pegged us as liberal/left social thinkers: Syriana and Good Night and Good Luck it is then, with Flight 93 thrown in for good measure. I think at least the Clooney ventures will be getting our bums on seats, and I have no objections to repeated screenings of those trailers.
So to Hidden, which has garnered plaudits from many corners. It certainly is worthwhile, with the central performances being especially wonderful. I'm rather fond of Daniel Auteuil, being a huge fan of La fille sur la pont. This is another great performance from this woundedly laconic actor, but that is not to underestimate his co-stars. the cinematography of Christian Berger is stunning, and the movement from 'video' to film is seamless in an appropriately creepy way. As you would expect from writer / director Michael Haneke, there are at least two truly uncomfortable scenes of unexpected violence which are central to the film. Shocking and disturbing, they highlight the various ideas and incarnations of what is 'hidden.'
Most beautifully, in an age which demands 'closure', the film ends on a bleakly unresolved note which, even for a pretty substantial art-house cinema audience drew a collective mental gasp of "huh?!" when the credits started to roll: it was as if the entire audience was unwittingly dragged into admitting they had expected resolution and instead found themselves resisting the urge to yell "that's it? that's how you're ending it?!" A good thing.
On a more superficial level can I say I loved the apartment that Auteil and Binoche shared: books on show and lots of them! That's what I ultimately want for my sitting room!