Schindler’s List (1993)
Schindler’s List is based on the true story of Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a German man during World War II who increasingly became concerned with the well-being of his Jewish workers during the Holocaust period. Although ambitious and greedy, Oskar Schindler watched daily as many Jewish people were killing at the camps, and he ended up turning his profitable factories into safe havens for about 1100 Jewish refugees. This is his story.
Surprisingly, Schindler’s List is a movie I am seeing for the first time in 2015. For most of my review, I am going to compare this movie to 12 Years a Slave only because I saw that movie first (when in reality I’m sure most people are comparing it the other way around.) They both are about horrific times in human history where people were treated as slaves/property and killed without warning. Both these movies won the Best Picture Oscar awards and both of these movies I will only need to watch once in my life… not because they are bad, but because they are the sad and troubling.
As far as the movie goes, Schindler’s List is very powerful, raw, and emotional. It shows many horrible things that the Nazi people did and it doesn’t hold back. Many of the scenes I was left in shock with my mouth open wide as I watched the many inhumane things these people did. I can how this movie won so many awards and why it has impacted cinemia the way it has.
It is odd to see Liam Neeson play a role where he doesn’t kick anyone’s ass, but I guess this was his pre-Taken days, however, he does a great job playing Mr. Schindler and earned a Best Acting nomination for it. Ralph Fiennes always finds a way to play the most sinister people well (he is also Voldemort in the Happy Potter movies). He does a perfect job as the head Nazi and transforms himself into someone we will hate forever (just as Michael Fassbender did in 12 Years a Slave.) He earned himself a best supporting nomination for his role.
For as powerful as it is, Schindler’s List isn’t without its faults that I didn’t care for. In my opinion, the story isn’t that intricate, so why did this movie need to be 3 hours and 15 minutes? There seemed to be quite a few scenes that dragged on too long and if the movie could have been edited down further, I think it would be much easier to watch (but what do I know, it won best editing.) Something else I didn’t care for was the use of black and white cinematography (again, another aspect it won an award for so what do I know.) This is a personal preference and many will agree, but I know many found the black and white authentic. I found that it took away my ability to immerse myself into the time and situation because life is in color and not in black and white. Even during the 40s, movies began using color film, so I’m not sure why black and white was used. I just didn’t care for it.
Just as I felt about 12 Years a Slave (which also won for best picture in 2015,) Schindler’s List is the kind of movie that you will never forget seeing due to the way it touches the soul. It is also the kind of movie that takes so much out of you that it only requires 1 viewing every 20 years. It has very low rewatchability due to the subject matter and disturbing situations, and only people who really want to experience history will watch this movie again soon after. Even with its minor flaws, Schindler’s List is one of the highly rated movies in cinematic history for a reason. Co-starring Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall, Jonathan Sagall, and Embeth Davidz.
7/10 Stars – One of the highly rated movies in history for a reason, but minor things keep it from being one I “loved.”