Schindler’s List (1993) Review

During World War II in German occupied Poland, Oskar Schindler is an industrialist who becomes increasingly concerned about his Jewish workforce after witnessing the horrific treatment by the Nazis. His efforts to save them puts his own life very much at risk, managing to save around 1110 jews based on a very true story.

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Oskar Schindler attempting to run his business with a Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern and together they worked very hard to save as many people as they possibly could. Although at times Schindler tried to say no and turn people down, he just couldn’t do that with the guilt of what would happen to them too much to take. His relationship with his wife seemed to be rather strained very quickly as Emille disappears for a little while and then suddenly appears back, although the fact he seems to have his fair share of women as well.

It’s actually really tough to review this film and talk about some of the moments that unfold. The sadness that fills you as people are ripped from their homes, quickly attempting to hide children and save themselves from the fate of death in brutal ways as well. Having suitcases emptied and possessions thrown everywhere was something that hit me really hard, especially when everything was pilled up it just made me think about how that could have been all they had left and now it was ripped away from them.

The health checks where everyone is stripped naked and the weak sent to die in the gas chamber was utterly devastating. It hits even harder when you know that all of what we see in the film actually happened to real life people. The shower scene had to be the worst as well, as I truly thought they were all being marched to death in the gas chamber. The darkness and the screams truly harrowing and difficult to watch.

I felt as though shooting the film in black and white made it even more powerful than it would have looked in colour. As this format allowed the lightening to change and add so much more to the tone of the overall story and film. Then the famous girl in a red coat scene which is so brutal and powerful, managing to walk through past all of the chaos going on around her. The reaction from Liam Neeson to that moment really made it even more powerful as well, a truly breathtaking scene. John Williams really out did himself with the score and I really think I would struggle to listen to most of the music away from the film as it really is itched in my memory with certain heartbreaking scenes.

Performances are utterly breathtaking, Liam Neeson taking no the role of Schindler is outstanding. His breakdown moment at the end really had me gasping, as he claims he could have saved one more and having all of the people within the factor pay respect to the man who made sure they were still living and safer than in any of the camps. Truly moving moment, although by that point as a viewer you cannot really feel very much anymore at all. Now it took me one hour and twenty five minutes into the film to realise that Ben Kingsley was Itzhak Stern, I seriously did not recognise him at all. Which I actually find to be a massive compliment because he was just the character and I was so into the film.

Ralph Fiennes taking on the truly horrible Nazi, Amon Goeth although having now read a little bit more about the real life characters they actually made him a little bit nicer on screen than the other things he actually did. I know that is incredibly shocking considering everything about him is repulsive. Therefore have to give it to Fiennes that his performance is brilliant, it cannot be easy taking on such a horrible character. Embeth Davidtz was a standout in terms of female support and I felt as though she captured everything about how frightening the situation was for Helen Hirsch.

A seven time Oscar winning film for Best Picture, Best Director, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Film Editing, Original Score, Film Editing and Art Direction – Set Decoration. Then also nominated for Best Actor in a Leading and Supporting role for Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes respectively, its actually rather shocking they didn’t win!

The Holocaust is quite frankly the worst humans have ever been towards one another and should not be forgotten. Something I cannot help but wonder is how difficult films around the subject are to make and from reading trivia around the film Steven Spielberg would cry at least once a day during filming then watch Seinfeld on an evening to try and switch off from the day. Along with Robin Williams being drafted in to try and take the cast and crews mind off what they had filmed that day.

The ending showing the real life survivors along with the actors who portrayed them on screen and visiting Oskar Schindler’s grave was truly haunting. I really was not expecting that and it broke me even more than the film already had. The small stones were placed on the grave as a sign of respect, which just makes it all more haunting.

For many years now I have avoided this film, out of fear and nothing more than that. The subject matter is truly horrendous and what happened to Jewish people is something that should never ever be repeated, therefore actually making this a truly important film. We need to remember the behaviour of so many Nazi’s and how many Jewish people were killed for no reason at all. The film shows that in the most brutal manner that it really is a tough watch, just shooting them in the head. It will emotionally drain you and make you wonder how humans could treat each other that way. I will not be rushing to watch this again anytime soon, I am sure certain moments are going to be itched in my memory for a very long time yet.

Masterpiece.

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