Movie Title: Schindler’s List
Actors: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall
Director: Stephen Spielberg
Method of Viewing: DVD
Location of Viewing: Home
Viewing with: No One
Rotten Tomatoes: 96% – Schindler’s List blends the abject horror of the Holocaust with Steven Spielberg’s signature tender humanism to create the director’s dramatic masterpiece.
My rating: *****
My assessment (the first 101 words at least): I feel obligated to give this movie five star not because it’s considered one of Spielberg’s best films, but because it is the first film to actual strike an emotional chord with me. At first, I thought that I wouldn’t be able to relate to so much death so long ago. However, once Schindler realizes the level of destruction, and begins to desperately try to save as many people as possible, you finally feel a human connection to this film. Somehow the timing of Schindler’s emotional turn around coincided with my own, making the last thirty minutes a grueling, somber triumph.
The three hour length certainly can wear on you, but in the end it’s necessary to see the decay of rights and dignity that was force upon the Jewish people. I was extremely worried that this movie would have no impact on me when the first few “shock” deaths didn’t seem to register with me. Those first two hours certainly felt more like a documentary then a movie, as Spielberg carefully wanted to tell as many stories and display as many atrocities as possible.
It was in the final hour, when the ashes of Jews fell from the chimney that the impact really began. The scene of human remains falling like snow finally hit some morbid limit within me that I could no longer stand to ignore these scenes. However, when I finally connected and cared about any of these characters was when Schindler began to put together every last bill he had to buy as many Jews as he could. Watching him nervously pace, constantly asking the number, smoking like a chimney, you could see that he truly felt that he had to somehow save an entire generation with all the wealth that just one man had.
The ending scene with Schindler was absolutely moving, a man so desperate to save every life he could, regretting not selling every last possession he had to save just one more Jew. A man who seemed to find an abundance of compassion in the darkest of times, I was impressed to say the least.
One final note, I read that Spielberg chose to film the piece in black and white to try to maintain a timeless feel. I didn’t look up the year before I watched (not even knowing it was in black & white), and I simply assumed the film was made in the 50’s. Now maybe that’s simply because I’m an extremely inexperienced movie watcher, but none the less, this truly has the feel of a documentary. While I won’t claim this to be my favorite movie simply because I prefer a more light-hearted affair, this certainly is the best movie I’ve watched (in terms of quality) so far.