When it comes to the work of legendary Steven Spielberg, it is excruciatingly difficult to find a pattern at all. This is a man, known for creating films that transcend beyond our imaginations, and also for creating films that are historic, and just regular films that you would find anywhere else. It’s incredibly hard to tell what he will make, from Bridge of Spies to E.T the Extra-Terrestrial to Ready Player One to Saving Private Ryan, Spielberg has dabbled in every single genre there is.
So, initially, Schindler’s List was just another one of those films in my mind; however after sitting through the entirety of the film; I realized that this is something, unlike anything Spielberg has done or will ever do.
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The Movie Review
Schindler’s List is a historical tale of Oskar Schindler, a member of the Nazi Party who moves to the Krakow Ghetto to make a fortune after commissioning a factory that would create enamel products. However, after noticing the horrifying events and the ways the world is being hurt by the Nazi ideologies, and how people are being treated; Schindler begins to lose his faith in his Party.
This is the story of how Oskar Schindler broke the stereotypes in the World War era where Germans were seen only as a threat. Oskar’s inspirational journey of helping, rescuing, and saving as many Polish Jewish citizens as possible is one for the ages. Be warned though, this is not a tale for the weak-hearted.
Spielberg chose to shoot the entirety of this film in black and white, aside from a particularly peculiar design choice; The Girl in the Red Coat. This was the prime motivator for Oskar Schindler’s entire story in the film; the girl in the red coat that he saw and admired from far away because of her innocence. As he sees her dead body being carried away, in a cart full of dead disfigured faces; he recognizes the red coat and so does the audience.
This becomes the prime motivator for not just Schindler, but for us as the audience to feel what he is feeling. The cinematographer Janusz Kamiński brings a dark tone to each scene, along with some of the highest levels of production and music design that I have ever seen or heard in a Spielberg film. Sorry, E.T, Schindler’s List has a better soundtrack than you do.
The film’s screenplay often revolves around Liam Neeson’s character, Oskar Schindler as his harrowing performance is one that captivates us as the audience to see from his perspective. Understanding his motives, we see how he goes from a money-hungry German businessman to an iconic savior figure for an entire race. This is one of the few stories where historical accuracy has mattered more than ever, and Spielberg very cautiously manages to pull just enough threads that the film doesn’t feel inaccurate yet remains an emotional, visual, and narrative masterpiece.
Liam Neeson carries the film, however, the side characters such as Ben Kingsley’s Itzhak Stern, Ralph Fiennes as Amon Göth, Caroline Goodall as Emilie Schindler, and Jonathan Sagall as Poldek Pfefferberg all portray their characters with conviction, especially because these figures needed such conviction to be acted well. I still cannot fathom how incredibly difficult it must have been for Neeson to do the final scene, where Schindler saves as many people as he can yet cry for the fact that he could have saved just one more. This brings us back to the girl in the red coat, how despite the efforts that Oskar Schindler made and however many people he managed to save; the ones that are gone will remain gone.
Schindler’s List is a historic magnum opus, a tale of a man who sought fortune yet found a purpose instead. Steven Spielberg brings Oskar Schindler’s story to life, while Liam Neeson breathes life into the character, unlike anything he had ever done before. This film created a star out of Neeson and turned him from a little-known actor to an iconic Hollywood superstar. Schindler’s List will definitely go down as one of the most important films of all time, despite the situations of the modern world.