Who Really Directed MUNICH?

I just watched Steven Spielberg’s MUNICH, and I need to let it soak in before I can post a full review, but I would like to make a couple of points right now.
First of all, Eric Bana’s performance is fine for a good length of the movie. About an hour and a half in (when he meets a girl in a bar) he elevates from decent to fantastic. If he was allowed to be this riveting for the first part of the film, he would definitely be an Oscar front runner, and possibly my choice to win the award.
But the main thing I want to talk about is the direction by Spielberg. Now, I’m all for directors stretching and experimenting with their usual style. The best directors are always pushing themselves to try something new. (The bad ones become Brian DePalma.)

Spielberg has tackled a wide range of styles, but all of his films still have his distinct feel. Even SCHINDLER’S LIST feels like Spielberg. With MUNICH, Spielberg doesn't try a different style. He outright copies the style of acclaimed international director Costa-Gavras and his Academy Award Winning film ‘Z’.
I think Z is a great film, one of the best foreign language films ever made. It was nominated for 5 Oscars including Best Director. But Spielberg is an original, and arguably one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema. So why did he copy the look and tone of another filmmaker? (I’d swear that there was a DVD of Z on set to use for reference.)

It’s not like nobody’s borrowed from Z before. Oliver Stone also used Z as an inspiration for JFK. But like a good cover band, JFK was still a film by Oliver Stone. MUNICH doesn’t feel like a Spielberg film at all, yet it feels exactly like a Costa-Gavras picture.
Of course most audiences won’t notice this and good directing is good directing no matter whose name is on the label. I just wish Spielberg hadn’t repressed his own style so much.


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