Gabe Watches the Classics XXIX: Schindler’s List
Aaargh. Somehow I only managed to get the first 2 hours and 13 minutes of the film onto my PlayBook. I think it still counts, and I’ll try to watch the rest of it somehow.
But I might as well get this post up on time, if nothing else.
EDIT: Now updated with the rest of the film.
This is a dark and unsettling movie. Spielberg does not shy away from showing the Holocaust in all of its horror. Death is always present, humiliation even more so.
The cinematography is powerful - the quick-cut scene showing a party, a wedding, and a beating in particular stood out. There’s only one splash of color in an otherwise black and white film - a little girl’s red coat - and its reappearances make the emotional punches all the harder.
The acting is subdued, letting the action and setting take precedence. Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler is a reluctant hero, one who slowly embraces the role as time progresses and completes the heel-face turn in the final half-hour. The Nazi captain, Amon Goeth (played by Ralph Fiennes), has this weird, almost Peter Sellers voice that actually make him a bit endearing. Repulsive, still, but a bit endearing.
The ending was an appropriate, albeit incomplete, catharsis. Since it’s based in history, the ending’s hard to spoil, but seeing so many survivors thanks to one man was awe-inspiring.
It’s hard to say I liked the film. It’s unsettling. To think that this was possible, done by other human beings (and we Canadians are not completely innocent here - ask a Japanese grandparent), it’s enough to lose faith in humanity.
I can only appreciate how lucky I am living where and when I am.