Monday, June 7, 2010

Schindler's List

Steven Spielberg is frequently synonymous with huge box office numbers. But he is also synonymous with critically acclaimed movies.

Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) is a vain, glorious and greedy German businessman who is a member of the Nazi Party. But upon seeing the barbaric Nazi reign and the psychotic acts of Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes), he feels compelled to turn his factory into a refuge for Jews.

Schindler's List had many emotional scenes, but there's one scene towards the end that got to me (and I assume many others). As Schindler and his Jews are leaving the factory, he confides in his accountant Itzhak Stern (played by the talented Ben Kingsley) that he "didn't do enough". Stern tells Schindler that he managed to save over a thousand Jews, but Schindler is heavily distraught about not saving more lives. It made me wonder what would've happen had he saved more Jews. Would he still feel guilty?

Spielberg, who would've thought you could make such a powerful movie like Schindler's List? It has it all: beautiful cinematography, a heartbreaking score by John Williams, and bravura performances from Neeson and Fiennes. And yes, of course, Spielberg's skilled direction.

My Rating: *****


  1. One of the things I find most interesting about this is that originally Martin Scorcese was originally considered to direct this but backed out, allowing him to direct the Cape Fear remake. This opened the door for Spielberg, who was producing, to direct the film, but the president of MCA requested Spielberg do Jurassic Park first. Oh how things would have shaped so incredibly different.

    This is among my top 100 films, but difficult to call it a favorite really. I'm not sure anyone can label it that. But it is just a fine piece of cinematic art.

  2. Glad you got to see it!

    Spielberg did such a good job with this film and he had so much on his plate while doing it. I remember reading somewhere that he was doing all his post-production work on Jurassic Park over the phone with George Lucas while he was filming this.

    I specifically liked how they shot in black and white, then had the little girl with the red coat in color. That was powerful.

  3. I have a love/hate reaction to Schindler's List. On the one hand it powerfully highlights one of the great atrocities of World War II, on the other hand it is a manichean and overly sentimental, heavy-handed film. Spielberg didn't feel right in the director's chair and tried to get Roman Polanski to direct. You can see how Spielberg's personal attachment to the story gives the film an emotional strength, but it also clouds it in a far too easily digestable, Hollywoodized narrative. It's an important story and a good film. But it isn't the greta film some would make out.


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