- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 29, 2006

In the never-ending game of catch-up that is the critic’s life, I sat down recently with the DVD of the Israeli film “Walk on Water“, which saw U.S. release last year.

Its story of a butt-kicking yet conscience-stricken Mossad agent was remarkably similar in its lineaments to Steven Spielberg’s “Munich,” which I pretty much despised. Eyal (Lior Ashkenazi, a Jewish Clive Owens — Steve Sailer thinks he looks more like Liev Schreiber) is a Mossad agent, whose job it is to infiltrate a German family and, prospectively, kill its decrepit Nazi patriarch, who has apparently disappeared from his Argentine hideout.

For reasons I can’t properly articulate, I liked “Walk on Water” quite a bit, despite its many flocculent fantasies of multi-culti, homo-hetero reconciliation. One of the German characters, for example, is homosexual, which doesn’t sit well with the stereotypically macho Israeli intelligence spook. And a club version of Buffalo Springfield’s protest anthem “For What It’s Worth” (and later the original) recurs throughout. In the strangest coincidence of all, the movie concludes with a near-mirror image of “Munich’s” coda: in “Walk on Water’s” case, the symbolic transmission of politically cleansed genes in the form of a conceived-in-peace German-Israeli offspring, as opposed to “Munich’s” solemnly sexless lovemaking scene, in which Eric Bana’s Mossad agent deposits his dysfunctionally vengeful seed.

Why was “Walk” so much more easily digested than “Munich”? It perhaps owes something to the following: It takes place mostly in present-day Israel, where realities such as Palestinian suicide terror are confronted (did you know that Israeli radio stations routinely broadcast soothing soft rock after a bombing occurs? Neither did I); it was made by Israeli filmmakers rather than the compulsively tendentious American agenda-pusher Tony Kushner; and, most of all, it juggled serious topics with a lighthearted touch.

“Walk on Water” was the kind of movie, in other words, that Spielberg might make one day again if he stops trying to defy gravity - and believing his adulatory press.

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