Schindler’s List (1993)

Film review: Schindler’s List (1993), directed by Steven Spielberg

schindlerslistBusinessman Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) wants to make money, and one way to do so is to get a bunch of rich Jews to invest in his business proposition, and because they aren’t allowed to own anything, it will be in his name. He can even hire Jews as cheap labour in the factory!

His Jewish accountant, Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), is keen to help as many as he can, but at the beginning, all Schindler is interested in is making money. As time – and the war – progresses, he starts to change his mind, and wants to help as many Jews as he can.

Also starring Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goeth, Caroline Goodall as Emilie Schindler, and Embeth Davidtz as Helen Hirsch, et al.

Schindler’s List occupies the lofty 7th position on the IMDb Top 250. Not because it’s a very long film (195 minutes, or 3 hours 15 minutes), but because it’s a very good film. So the black and white is a bit artsy, but I think it’s a good call, because it really works – particularly when Schindler notices the red coat of a little girl in the ghetto. A film isn’t automatically bad because it’s monochromatic, come on.

It seems as if all Oskar Schindler was interested in initially was the money, but the red coat scene is a turning point. From then on, he really works to help people, and at both great risk and monetary cost for himself. If the real person was as agreeable as Liam Neeson’s version, I’ve no idea.

If you’ve ever wondered why Ralph Fiennes was cast as You-know-who in the Harry Potter films, you won’t be wondering after seeing this film. Goeth is a nasty piece of work. He’s a  “shooting people for fun from his balcony” kind of person, which sends shivers down my spine. In October 2013, there was a BBC news report about a German woman who discovered her grandfather was a prominent Nazi, namely Amon Goeth. I can hardly even begin to imagine the shock that was to her. It’s an article well worth reading.

The film ends in colour, in our modern day (well, early 1990s), with holocaust survivors and the actors that played them visiting Schindler’s grave. It puts thing into perspective somehow, and is a nice tribute. Because of him, people lived, and continue to live, as they had the chance to have children.

While this is a great film, I would put out a warning there for fellow HSPs, or indeed anyone who’s highly empathic (empathetic?), Schindler’s List a very difficult film to watch, but then, which holocaust film isn’t? Bring some kitchen roll or a box of tissues if you sit down to watch this. Tears will roll, but it will be worth it.

5 out of 5 pots and pans.

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