It is only twice that I have watched this movie and it definitely is one of the classics of Hollywood. Released way back in 1993, it is probably the finest work (and undoubtedly one of the finest) of Steven Spielberg till date. In the backdrop of Nazi-occupied Poland, Schindler’s List comprises of Jews who are to be saved by an otherwise greedy and flamboyant businessman but a transformed humanitarian, Oskar Schindler.
The story is based on Thomas Keneally’s 1982 novel “Schindler’s Ark”. It is a story of a German businessman who went all out to save the Jews who were being massacred by the Nazi army post-invasion of Poland. While, initially, he employed the Jews to make quick money by exploiting them. However, the views of people being needlessly killed by the Nazi army evokes the human inside him and that’s when he decides to do whatever possible to save as many lives as possible. And while doing that, he not only has to manage the secrecy of the purpose but also justify the purpose of every single Jew in his company to the bloodthirsty Nazi army. The screenplay is brilliant and it couldn’t have been better adapted from the novel.
Liam Neeson, playing the title role, was effortless in the projection of a greedy, money-minded and a womanizer businessman in the beginning of the movie and an emotional, humanitarian later on. One of the toughest scenes was when he is watching the Jewish massacre from the top of a hill – and his expressions in that scene told a thousand words, something which is very tough. It was quite a challenging role and Liam executes it like a boss. Besides Liam, another actor that stood out in the movie was Ralph Fiennes. His role and quality of acting reminded me of the role of Christopher Waltz in Inglorious Bastards. Playing a role of a cruel Nazi commandant of the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp in Płaszów (German-occupied Poland), he was brilliant in his cold looks and depiction of hatred towards the Jews. Ben Kingsley was commendable in his role of Jewish accountant of Oskar Schindler. His depiction of a hesitating, unsure and under-confident person (yet rising to the occasion whenever the situation demands), largely due to the circumstances around him, was brilliant.
I loved the idea of Steven Spielberg shooting this movie in B/W which provided it a vintage feel as well as a slightly dull projection which was necessary considering the subject of the movie. SS has been great with the actors and he brings the best out of it. One negative for me was the length of the movie which was too long, especially when you have such a heavy topic. Conceptualization of some of the scenes are so brilliant they stay on your mind long after you have watched the movie – something I felt when I watched “12 Angry Men”.
Overall (9/10): Definitely, one of the classics in Hollywood, and a must-watch movie, if you love a little heavy but a top quality cinema.