There are some movies which you know you really have to see, but somehow never had. The reason I didn’t watch Schindler’s List before was mainly because of its heavy subject matter and it’s length. Before you watch it you already know it’s going to be tough to watch and that you won’t be feeling very happy afterwards. It might have taken some years, but now I finally have seen it and what an amazing piece of cinema it is.
Schindler’s list is about the true story of Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a German businessman who wants to make a fortune during the Second World War. He’s very close to the nazis and knows how to become friends with various important people in the army. This allows him to set up a factory. When he hears Jews are the cheapest workforce he decides to get a whole lot of them out of the ghetto of Warsaw. As the war progresses he slowly finds out what happens to the Jews in the concentration camps and starts to care more for them, which means he has to walk a fine line between being friends with the nazis and following his own agenda.
Spielberg really has delivered one of his masterpieces with Schindler’s List. The way that it is shot is beautiful. Most of the movie is in black and white, but some scenes have a color added to it, like the opening scene or a scene in the ghetto where the red jacket of a little girl makes her stand out. The way the sets look, like that Warsaw ghetto is impressive (after having seen the documentary A Film Unfinshed a while ago).
Of course a movie comes alive through its story and the way the characters are played by the actors. Liam Neeson is very good as Oskar Schindler, a character who is greedy and you really won’t like through a bit part of the movie, but Neeson slowly manages to show what is going on under his skin. Ben Kingsley plays Itzhak Stern, who is the bookkeeper for Schindler and makes him a wise, but very scared individual who knows that any day could be his last. Ralph Fiennes however stands out most as the nazi Amon Goeth. Goeth is an unpredictable and very scary character who will randomly shoot people. You never know if he’s on to you or if he can be trusted. That tension is constantly present when dealing with Schindler and Fiennes makes him frightening, but also shows that within this horrible man there is a lot of insecurity.
Schindler’s List is an important document about the things that happened during the Second World War. With the final shots Spielberg manages to pull the movie into reality, making it something you will not forget.