Classic Film Review: Schindler’s List (1993)

And the Oscar Goes to:

Schindler’s List, 1993

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Jonathan Sagall, Embeth Davidtz

 

During my review of The English Patient I noted how Colin Firth was the first actor to appear in three Oscar winners with my reviews, but that he wouldn’t hold the distinction of being the only one for long. Ralph Fiennes and Schindler’s List is the reason why (after Fiennes starred in The Hurt Locker and The English Patient).

It’s very difficult to criticise or praise a film with such a powerful back story, and Schindler’s List has that: detailing the life of Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a businessman and Nazi who used Jews as slave-labour during the Second World War. Schindler’s businesses, though, were run differently to all the others at the time, in that Schindler refused to kill any of his workers and often vented out against other business owners who do so. By the end of the Second World War, Oskar Schindler had bribed his way through hiring over a thousand Jews, and thus saving their lives.

Steven Spielberg shows this film in black-and-white, which works very well considering the time it’s set in. And this film is given a running time of over three hours so he slowly builds up the whole scene of Oskar Schindler and the Jews of the time. While it is a long time to sit and watch a film with such a powerful and brutal back story, it does make for a wonderful climax at the end.

Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler was a very good choice, as were nearly every character in this film, as they all acted their roles brilliantly. Ralph Fiennes’ Amon Goth particularly coming across as a ruthless business leader (there’s a horrific scene where he’s just firing shots from his balcony at random passersby for no reason other than his own enjoyment). Each character goes through a range of emotions during this film, and a range of character traits, and each actor pulls it off.

Schindler’s List is a must-see for anyone remotely interested in the Second World War, as it shows a side of it rarely seen in the cinema. The brutality of the film is essential to showing what really happened to Jews during the period, and the writing staff, director/producers and the actors all come together brilliantly to detail the story.

 

Plot: * * *

Acting: * * * *

Writing: * * *

Presentation: * * * *

Overall Rating: * * * ½

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