Hack vs. Auteur

Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angryJust got back from seeing Munich and it got us talking about Steven Spielberg. How can he put together such a dark, nuanced film about the compromises made when a nation abandons its morals and also direct the one-note, rah-rah, War of the Worlds?

Munich was about Israel's response to the killing of their athletes at the Olympics -- sending assassins after the planners of Black September. But it was also an allegory about the American response to September 11. Whereas War of the Worlds was just a story about how if people just buckle down they can overcome any foe, no matter where it comes from.

Yeesh, guess which one will end up having done better when the box office is tallied?

Not many directors or actors can straddle the line between blockbuster and art -- and it is a line, there are even fewer films that are both. Spielberg seems to move back and forth, though I would prefer he would commit to his muse and stop chasing the dollar.

6 comments:

  1. I dunno; I actually like Spielberg's "hack" films more than his attempts at "art" cinema. Maybe that's just because I think he's a good "hack" filmmaker, but not a very good "artist". I mean, give me "Raiders of the Lost Ark" over "Schindler's List" any day.

    I haven't seen Munich yet.

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  2. True, Raiders was a great piece of film, but I see his art becoming more complex and less heavy-handed, whereas his blockbusters don't have the same lightness of old. It worries me about the upcoming fourth Indiana Jones. Which Spielberg will show up?

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