German businessman Oskar Schindler begins employing Jews in his factory during World War II for reasons of greed but becomes deeply moved by their plight. He then begins a campaign to save as many Jewish lives as possible from persecution under the Nazi regime.
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The first time I saw “Schindler’s List,” it enraged me. . . . Not surprisingly, I see it very differently now. Whereas a quarter-century ago I only could recognize Spielberg’s signature, saccharine sentimentality, now I register how many punches he pulled — how carefully he built his very necessary case using the exact tools for which my younger (and rasher) self faulted him.
My own reservations concern scenes of naked bodies, or, more precisely, naked extras, being herded into the gas chambers. These scenes have become so familiar as to be numbing, a kind of Holocaust pornography. . . . For me, the best scenes are oblique, suggestive, and all the more terrifying for that. . . . This, to me, is where Spielberg’s real brilliance lies: the light touches that underline the horror.
January 03, 2017
Candor compels me to admit that Schindler’s List not only made me blubber helplessly both times I saw it, once before and once after reading Thomas Keneally’s fascinating nonfiction novel; it has also, though I have some misgivings, won my gratitude and respect.
Essential cinema. 25 years later Spielberg's masterpiece stands as a staggering achievement in all regards. This multiple Academy Award winning film is the director's most personal film and the attention to detail is evident. From the perfectly cast performances to the artistry behind the camera this is a film that has been remembered and will continue to be as Spielberg's legacy film. The score is simply perfect,
Undoubtedly the best of its type—but what value should we place on its type? After Shoah and Night and Fog, it's hard to go back to a docudrama, even a finely crafted one. What remains most interesting, aside from Spielberg's devotion to the principles of David Lean, is how thoroughly his film identifies with a savvy hustler and rich mogul who, accompanied by a (Jewish) conscience, decides to use his status for good.
Look past the 90's commercial considerations that seem to have necessitated an emotive score and redemptive ending, and this ranks among Steven Spielberg's major accomplishments. This is due in no small part to Janusz Kaminski's lush black & white photography and a pair of great performances from Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes, the latter of whom is absolutely chilling in his portrayal of decadent yet banal evil.
Most of the complaints against this film are either by those that hate anything with the name Spielberg attached to it or those that claim that it is "too manipulative," whatever that means. Many great directors are applauded for such "manipulation" yet Spielberg is lambasted for it. If an audience allows itself to be manipulated, that's on them. This work stands on its own, regardless of manipulation.
This is an example of when film, a genre usually linked with entertainment, is uniquely representative of high quality/profound art. I have never seen such smooth and artful use of the B&W medium, hearkening back to various respected/highly venerated filmmakers of the past... namely, perhaps taking inspiration from the masterful b&w cinematography of Sven Nykvist... even Edwin S. Porter's influence could be argued!
This film is too much a Hollywood film to be interesting. Some elements are very good and it's probably not because Spielberg directed it, but it's like the american have to find a happy ending in a film about Shoah, the biggest genocide of XXth century. Why do they have to tell the story of a good man, when obviously if everybody was like him, it wouldn't have happened ? because it has to be entertaining anyway ?