Sunday, August 9, 2009

#41 Schindler's List 1993

There was one time when I thought that Steven Spielberg was nothing really special. He made good actions flicks but his talent didn't really extend past that. Now, I want to slap myself for ever thinking that. I can only remember crying for a good reason twice while watching a film. They were both while watching Spielberg movies: Saving Private Ryan and this one, Schindler's List.

The story is extraordinary. I often like watching Holocaust movies. Of course not because there is anything good about the Holocaust but because, in some instances, such bravery came out of that era. In my mind those who resisted during that time are among the very bravest people in history.

The film was shot in almost complete black and white. If I had to guess, I would say it was shot in black and white to express the simple good vs evil nature of the film and war in general. The choice seems perfect for this film also becasue of the delosation depicted there in.

This film tells the story of Oskar Schindler, a Czech businessman in Germany, who saved over 1100 Jews from being put in Auschwitz. Liam Neeson plays Schindler beautifully. The change in the character couldn't have been easy and yet Neeson gave a wonderful performance of a progressing man. The interaction between Neeson and Ben Kingsley, who play Schindler's jewish accountant, was probably most telling. Their first scenes together were frosty, and as the film continued, they became esteem colleguges, if not friends. The most emotional scenes were among the last in the film. After having saved those he did, Schindler began counting ways that he could have saved more, lementing that he could not get more out of the camps. This scene marks the complete transformaton is the character, as he was a selfish and obvilious at the start of the film. The most emotional scene was the last on, when the real-life "Schindler's Jews," side by side with the actors that had played them each put a stone on Schindler's grave. There was not guessing what an impact this one man had on the world; his influence was right there in front of you.

Also fantanstic was the performance of Ralph Fiennes. He played the heartless leader of the ghetto, who shot people from his balcony before his morning coffee. However, unlike most villians, the as not robotic or devoid of all humanity. He was almost childlike. There is one scene in particular where Fiennes' Goeth is talking himself into raping his Jewish maid. He has feeling for he and wants her deep down, but can't get over his prejudice. "You're not a person in the strictest sense, but..." he says. In the end he decided to stick to his convictions and brutally beats her instead. The character is a dispictable one, but Fiennes' performance is brilliant in the way that he plays a multi-layered monster.

Simply Outstanding.

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