The list of life and death
MikeInMotion - wrote on 10/22/12
This film captures one of the most traumatic events in human history, and it is shown with agonizing truth. The Holocaust was genocide of over 6 million European Jews during World War II, which was spear-headed by Adolf Hitler. This was two-thirds of the entire Jewish population that was senselessly murdered. How anybody could ever go through with something like this is beyond my imagination; itís just the work of a 100% evil force. However, even in the most horrible times in our history, there is always a glimmer of hope that shines on those lucky enough to catch sight of it. For just over a thousand Jews, hope was Oskar Schindler.
Oskar Schindler was a German who was in the business of enamelware and ammunition. He was very successful in his business, and he was well-respected among those responsible for killing millions of Jews. He used this to his advantage. As time passed, and he witnessed more and more Jews senselessly slaughtered, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He hired over 1,000 Jews to work in his factories, where he made sure they were treated as equals. It was a safe haven located right in the middle of hell on earth.
The Naziís unfortunately became even more ruthless than before, and decided to close all factories not directly related to the war. This obviously included Schindlerís enamelware factories, which meant that his workers would have nowhere to hide and they too would be killed without question. Schindler would never allow that to happen, so he came up with a plan. His plan was to persuade the Naziís to allow him to move his workers to a factory located in his old home of Zwittau-Brinnlitz to save his workers from being killed. The names of these workers are all compiled on a list he had made to show which Jews would be kept off the trains to Auschwitz, in which a concentration camp waited for them. Schindler put as many names as he could afford on this list, as being on the list was a matter of life and death.
For a film that tackles such an important time in human history I can say that it definitely does the subject matter justice, as every aspect of the film is phenomenal. John Williamsí score is nothing short of breathtaking, conveying just about every emotion imaginable as we witness some of the most chilling things humanity has ever endured. The cinematography is also spellbinding, encapsulating some truly massive sets that are home to total destruction and despair. The film is shot in black-and-white, which gives it an even gloomier feel. As soon as the film starts, you feel like you are right there with everybody, which is both amazing and horrifying.
The highlight of this film, however, is the acting. Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler is just flat-out brilliant. He was the perfect choice for that role and shows a man that we completely believe is a flawed but heroic person who wants to save the lives of as many people as he possibly can. As a complete counter-point to Neeson, we have Ralph Fiennes as Amon GŲth, an SS officer. He is the cruelest character in the entire film; responsible for killing many Jews, and often times killing them just for fun. His performance is perhaps the best, because he has to do some horribly disturbing things and it didnít even seem like acting to me. Lastly, I will mention the great Ben Kingsley as Itzhak Stern, Schindlerís accountant and business partner. Kingsley is very reliable and important to Schindlerís cause but he is also very noticeably hurt by all that is going on, and I really felt for his character and his situation.
Spielberg did a fantastic job with this. It definitely isnít the type of movie you usually see from him, but I donít think anyone else could have done it better. He puts the emphasis on the right places, showing the constant fear and struggle that these people had to endure for such a long time. We see these people do everything in their power to stay alive, and watch as many of those same people die anyway. It is not an easy movie to watch, but it had to be shown like this because you canít sugarcoat it. Glossing over the most sadistic moments of this event would not only be a lie to the viewer, but it would be an insult to all of the people who were actually affected by the Holocaust. Spielberg made the right move by showing it as it really was, and as a result he made one of the most harrowing yet incredibly moving films ever made.