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Oscars Challenge #25: Schindler's List (1993) Movie Review

Schindler's List Poster

"Whoever Saves One Life, Saves the World Entire" - Itzhak Stern

I don't think there will ever be an Academy Award Best Picture film than Schindler's List. I mean there is really none like it.

In a good way.

Directed by one of the most successful and renowned directors of all time, Steven Spielberg, Schindler's List is a historical drama film unlike any other. It tells the story of Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a wealthy businessman and a member of the Nazi party during World War 2. The movie starts with him hiring Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), a Jewish official who handles his business' financing. When the Płaszów concentration camp was finished, Amon Göth (Ralph Fiennes), a strict, brutal, and harsh SS Official ordered that two thousand Jews be transported while the other 2000 were to be executed on the streets. Mr. Schindler witnessed the massacre and diverts his attention to persuading Amon to be good with the Jews. However, after brutalizing his Jewish maid and shooting random people in the concentration park, Oskar and Itzhak divert their attention to saving as many Jews as possible. For them to execute their plan of rescue, they created what seems to be an employment list of as many Jews as possible. Their task was not easy because Oskar needs to sacrifice his money in saving as many Jews as possible. And in total, he was able to save 1200 Jews from possible execution while losing almost everything.

Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson)

No matter what anyone says, in my perspective whoever Oskar Schindler is, he is a hero.

Back to the film. First of all, the movie doesn't feel like it pulled its punches or anything since most of the graphic scenes are shown without blur or cuts. It felt natural and that is kinda scary. Imagine if you are in that period and you are a Jew. It's natural for you to either be shot, killed, mocked, or kicked around because of your religious beliefs or racial ancestry. I think that's nice about this movie, it's scary and disturbing but overall it tells the reality of the situation. And sometimes, a little bit of reality is needed. However, in my opinion, what was shown in the film is far from what really happened.

The film was also shot in black and white, except for the mysterious girl in red. Which throughout the movie can be translated as someone important or a triggering point to Oskar Schindler. To be honest, I am not pretty sure who she was and what's her role and symbol in the film and I'd like to keep it that way.

Amon shooting people

This easily might have been Liam Neeson's best acting role in my opinion. I have seen him in a couple of movies, action ones mostly, and the way he portrayed Oskar is heartwarming. That last scene when the Jews he saved gave him a ring, actually touched me. His acting is so genuine that really makes you cry. It was kind of disappointing that he didn't win the Best Picture award. I really think that he deserved it. On the other hand, Ralph Fiennes, like when he played Voldemort, was a terrific villain. You know someone plays the antagonist role very well when you start hating the character. And I really did. Other supporting characters like Ben Kingsley and the others also played wonderfully.

I liked the part at the end of the film they played actual footage wherein the remaining survivors as well as the actors paid respects to Oskar Schindler's grave. I think it adds more meaning to what he did and what his legacy truly is.

The music in this film is very dramatic and sad. It's very suitable for this kind of movie.

Steven Spielberg in 1993 was also directing another film, Jurassic Park. Both have world-apart stories and I cannot believe one can do a dinosaur movie while shooting this one. I mean it is really mind-blowing. I am beyond words the emotional impact that one can experience doing this film. It might have been extremely difficult. There were instances during production when it got too sad or depressing that they hired a comedian, Robin Williams just to lighten up the mood. If the film affects you as a person, then what you are doing is really something memorable and important.

In some instances in the film, well I think only when the German soldiers are speaking they use their native language. I think it adds a nice touch to focus more on what they are doing than on what they are speaking.

Oskar Schindler addressing the Jews

However, this film didn't go on without its share of controversies. I think that a certain work of art like a movie, tv show, music, or book about the Holocaust would always be doubted or hated. Seriously to me, as long as it is close to telling the truth, I am okay with it.

In some countries, they had to cut out the nudity or the graphic scenes but Steven Spielberg didn't want them left out. I guess that is nice if you really wanted to show everyone what the Holocaust is.

I really do recommend this film even though it is not for everyone. After watching this film make sure that you pause for a couple of minutes and just breathe it all in. I mean seriously because the movie has a lot to unpack and there are quite a few here-and-there details that you may want to look back upon.

However, I won't recommend watching it over and over a couple of times because it is just so heartbreaking and enraging in my opinion.

Still, to the brilliant minds who made this film possible, a big thanks to them. This might have been one of the best Academy Award Best Picture films I have ever watched despite having just witnessed a quarter of them all. This film is in my top 10 most definitely.

A perfect 5 out of 5 stars.

No, 6 out of 5 should be the correct one.

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