Munich’ a timeless, soul-probing thriller worthy of Best Picture

“Munich”Universal Pictures and DreamworksDirected by Steven SpielbergWritten by Tony Kushner and Eric RothStarring: Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Ciaran Hinds, Mathieu Kassovitz, Hanns Zischler and Geoffrey RushRated R/164 minutesAvailable on DVD on May 9Four out of four stars

The big question isn’t whether “Crash” or “Brokeback Mountain” deserved to win Best Picture. The big question is: Why didn’t the voters recognize Steven Spielberg’s “Munich” as more timeless and powerful than either one of them?

In my original four-star review of “Munich”-a soul-probing thriller about the bloody aftermath of the ’72 Olympics massacre-I talked about the flak Spielberg has taken regarding his approach to the material.

Is he an enemy of Israel, as some of his opponents have suggested? I think not. Like patriotic Americans, Spielberg is critical of his leaders, asking questions without easy answers. Anyone looking for a black-and-white message in this film will be sorely disappointed.

But enough about the meaning of it all-“Munich” is first and foremost a thriller, inventively shot by frequent Spielberg collaborator Janusz Kaminski. He and Spielberg know that the visuals carry the strongest punch, no matter how many fancy words Tony Kuschner can stuff into his characters’ mouths. The very last shot in the movie says more in a few seconds than most movies say in 120 minutes.