MOVIE REVIEW: “Schindler’s List” stars Liam Neeson (Taken, Non-Stop), Ben Kingsley (Ender’s Game, Iron Man 3), Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, The Grand Budapest Hotel), Caroline Goodall (Hook, Cliffhanger), Jonathan Sagall (Urban Feel, Lemon Popsicle), Embeth Davidtz (Matilda, Bicentennial Man), Malgorzata Gebel (ER [TV series], Angry Harvest), Shmuel Levy (Missing in Action: The Beginning, The Quarry), Mark Ivanir (Get Smart , The Terminal), and Béatrice Macola (Dr. M, Buck and the Magic Bracelet). It is directed by Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies, Ready Player One), with the screenplay being written by Steven Zaillian (Moneyball, Searching for Bobby Fischer). Based on a true story, this film follows Oskar Schindler (Neeson), a greedy German businessman who hires over a thousand Jews in German-occupied territory to work at his factory during World War II, saving their lives from the Holocaust.
When I knew I was approaching my 600th review, I knew I had to do something special. To not only analyze a great feature, but also one of importance. My last milestone review was of “The Passion of the Christ,” so it was only fitting that what I reviewed next to commemorate a special occasion would have just as much impact. I’ve never seen “Schindler’s List.” It’s not the kind of movie you parade around imploring your friends to watch it. It’s a tough pill to swallow, not only because of the subject matter, but also because it clocks in around three hours and sixteen minutes of runtime. It’s deemed one of Spielberg’s finest achievements in cinema, if not the greatest movie to come from him. Of course, I knew not to raise my expectations too high, but it was rather hard considering how it won Best Picture of the year 1993. So, how did this film hold up? In all honesty, what critics say is true: this is one of (if not the) defining pictures of Spielberg’s career. The scary thing is, it doesn’t even feel like a Spielberg movie. There is no wonder or amazement to be found in a story on the Holocaust; what Spielberg set to capture was an experience unlike any other, detailing how one greedy man had a change of heart and saved over a thousand Jews who would’ve otherwise been incinerated at the Auschwitz death camp. I realized what I was getting into, and emotionally prepared myself for the ride. “Schindler’s List” is one of those features that is astounding in several aspects, however it’s difficult to see oneself watching again. Is it because of the subject matter? More likely than not, but it’s also a heavy film in general. There are a lot of working cogs that go into this story, several characters who are focused on in one way or another. Not only do we get to see Oskar Schindler’s heart soften over time, but we also get to see the lives of the Jews having to live under the conditions of 1943 Nazi-occupied Europe. It’s difficult to sit through at times; a lot of horrific sights are shown, whether it be the shooting of innocent people or the dumping of dead bodies to be burned. I think what makes it scary how this doesn’t feel like a Spielberg film is the fact that it doesn’t feel like a movie at all in certain moments. It’s as if I am there, watching this atrocious event go down because of the hard, genius work performed by both crew and cast. All of the actors were phenomenal, you really couldn’t ask for a better group. Liam Neeson killed it, as did Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes. They were electric on-screen and evoked such realism as to make any audience grow emotional over what unfolds in the story. Several emotions came out of me, whether it be anger, fear, or sadness (the biggest of them all, given the circumstances). It’s been a while since I’ve flinched or winced at murder sequences in film; I’ve grown so numb to cinematic killings that it’s hard to get a rise out of me. “Schindler’s List” left me vulnerable by all accounts, as every death scene was either brutal or merciless as almost everyone who died on the screen was an innocent. Some were shot just for doing nothing… nothing! It was unbelievable, and made for a raw, brutal experience that I’ll never forget. Aside from the sheer velocity and scope this story brings, and the actors who make it real, the cinematography, score, and development made through the flow of the plot was astounding. The shots were gritty and personal, capturing this world in a way that you’d believe you’re actually there. John Williams’ score is what you’d expect it to be: brilliant. And the fact that for a three-hour movie it flowed like water is an achievement in and of itself. For any filmmaker or connoisseur of film, this is one of the elite, and I’m not only saying that because it speaks on a harsh topic. The amount of Holocaust-based features out there is crazy; there’s so much to choose from and similar information to receive, yet “Schindler’s List” stands from the pack because it not only voices the atrocity that is the Holocaust, but it also focuses on the changing of one man’s heart. How, because of one man’s act of kindness, over a thousand lives were saved. It’s an amazing story, and it really couldn’t be made better than what was made. Granted, you’ll notice that my score for this film isn’t perfect. There were a few nitpicks found in continuity throughout the movie, none of which jeopardized the whole experience though. And while a film may exceed in several aspects in the production, it all comes down to personal opinion over whether or not it spoke to you (it did to me, but not on being perfect). “Schindler’s List” is probably not my personal favorite Spielberg flick, but I will say that it’s one of his (if not the) finest ever crafted based on skill alone. It’s a very impactful story that has several qualities film lovers will enjoy, and I implore anyone to see it. FINAL SCORE: 99%= Juicy Popcorn
This movie has been inducted into The Juicy Hall of Fame.
Here is the trailer: