Monday, April 11, 2016

865. Schindler's List

Schindler's List
Directed by Steven Spielberg

Schindler's Ark has been on my reading list forever.  I still prefer films about the Holocaust to have less of a Hollywood polish, but this is undeniably a powerful movie.

Oskar Schindler is a member of the Nazi party, hoping to make his fortune in the overcrowded Krakow Ghetto.  He acquires a factory that produces enamelware and enlists the help of Itzhak Stern, a Jewish accountant.  Amon Goeth, known as "The Butcher of Plaszow," comes to Krakow to oversee the construction of the Plaszow concentration camp.  Once the camp is completed, Goeth orders the ghetto to be emptied.  Schindler witnesses and is profoundly affected by the mass execution of the Jewish people in Krakow.  With Stern's help, Schindler attempts to save as many Jewish people as he can, while still maintaining the pretense of being a respectable Nazi.

Parts of the film are phenomenal, although I should mention that I thought there were elements of cheesiness.  I thought the idea of having the young girl's jacket in red, while the rest of the film was in black and white, was a bit over the top.  I am sure there are a lot of theories about the significance of the choice.  I believe it was done so that the audience would recognize the little girl later, because Spielberg didn't think the audience would be able to, since the film is in black and white.  I wish Spielberg had given us a little more credit.  Either that, or it was some vague artistic choice.  In any case, I think it was overdone and interrupted the flow.

Really, that is my only complaint.  Other than that, the acting was excellent; I almost wish Fiennes was less talented as his portrayal of Goeth was so disturbing.  The story is inspirational and will certainly leave a lasting impression.  Definitely a must see.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Spielberg gave all the money he earned from this film to the Shoah Foundation.

Spielberg worked on both Jurassic Park and Schindler's List at the same time.  He said he used every ounce of intuition on Schindler's List and every ounce of craft on Jurassic Park.


  1. You had your finger right on it .. Goeth is such a compellingly chilling character, and so well played, you feel really bad for noticing him, and remembering him as the 'lead' character.

    1. Exactly. I never thought Neeson's performance was that spectacular. Not bad, but not very memorable.

  2. A touching film and extremely well done. Definitely List Worthy, way more than some (Many?) of the movies in the book.

  3. I was not looking forward to this film as probably noone really looks forward to films about the Holocaust but I think I've never been so glad in a long time that I took the time to watch something. I thought it was really fantastic and horrifying and moving.

    But I definitely disagree with you about the girl in the red coat! So this is just my opinion obviously but to me she represents the turning point for Schindler. The point of the scene is that he notices her, she stands out, and she makes it impossible for him to dismiss what is happening any longer. Why was he not moved to save the Jews before? Because to him they were just a collective bunch of victims. Sure he wouldn't go out and murder anyone himself and had no interest in hurting anyone, but profiting from their situation was fine, and what was happening around him had become the norm.

    She jolts him back into reality by humanising the people suffering. They are no longer faceless Jews that he can dismiss with a shrug. He notices her, he follows her with his eyes and watches what is happening around her. He cares where she ends up and feels concern- that is the key. She has a profound impact on him that's why she's so important, and that's why she's in red. Obviously this could be all bollocks as I have no idea what his intention was and it was so late last night when I watched this haha but that's what I think...

    1. I think you are spot on in your interpretation of what the Spielberg intended. Still, it felt a bit gimmicky to me; idk why it rubbed me the wrong way.

    2. Wow, Ashley, I don't know if that's the official explanation but it definitely sounds consistent and true. Really well exposed!