Schindler’s List: 20th Anniversary Edition

Schindlers List

schindlers listEvery generation there is a movie released which captivates the audience, and can distinguish itself as one of the best films of the century.  Schindler’s List was released in 1993, and it quickly became one of the best films of all time, if not the greatest film of the 20th century.  One of the things that makes this movie so great, is that it is not overly commercialized.  It is not played on basic cable over and over again.  It is not played on HBO, Showtime, or in your instant queue for Netflix. Director Steven Spielberg has done a good job at protecting this movie, and preserving it as a testament to an important era of mankind, and a tragic event many people ignored for so long.

This is a powerful film, and it is so powerful that in the rare occurrence it is viewed on TV, it is shown unedited and uninterrupted. I have only seen this movie a few times in my life, mainly because it is not a movie that is thrown in our face all the time.  It is an emotional movie I fear would lose it’s significance if I did it the dishonor of keeping it in my Blu-ray player and watching it over an over again.  Blu-ray has been out now for about seven years, and it took it a long for this movie to be finally released.  I believed it was a good move on Spielberg’s part to wait.  By releasing this movie, the current generation gets to take a step back from all of the teenage romance movies and watch something devastating that happened in the life time of many of our grandparents or parents.

The movie focuses around Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a German business man who had moved to Poland to try to cash in on the German war effort.  At the same time he moves into the Polish town of Krakow, the German SS are routing the Jewish people from their homes and into the town.  Schindler finds the value in hiring Jewish people for his business, because they are the cheapest form of  labor.  Enlisting the help of Jewish accountant Itzak Stern (Ben Kingsley), Schindler beings to bribe German officials, politicians, and military men to start his business.  Schindler begins to take many Jewish workers to work at his new plant which makes enamel kitchen ware for soldiers in the field.  As Schindler is profiting from the war, German SS Lieutenant Amon Goth (Ralph Fiennes) is sent to Krakow to  over see the building of the concentration camp that will house the Krakow Jews as part of the Hitler’s “Final Solution” of the Hebrew people. Once the camp is completed, Goth then invades Krakow with troops, killing the elderly, weak, and those who resist.  All others are brought to the camp for labor purposes.  While they are there, the Jewish people must put up with Goth’s brutal control over the camp.  Schindler, upset that Goth has moved his workers and after seeing Goth’s brutality first hand, has Goth move his workers to a separate part of the camp.  This begins Schindler’s change from business man to humanitarian.  After seeing the carnage of what the German people have done to the Jewish people, Schindler, with the help of Stern, then drafts what is known as, “Schindler’s List.”  Schindler brides German officials and Goth to allow him to purchased over 1200 jewish people; thus, saving their lives.

I found that all three actors of this movie were perfect for their respective parts.  Liam Neeson plays an excellent Oskar Schindler, and does and excellent job of showing Schindler go from a flamboyant business man to a compassionate man less concerned with money, and more concern about saving people from German atrocities.  Ben Kingsley does an excellent job of playing a calm and collected character, even through all of the chaos that surrounds him and his people.  He does a good job at playing Oskar Schindler’s conscience.  The break through performance, in my opinion, was that of Ralph Fiennes.  His portrayal of Amon Goth could go unmatched.  He took the role very seriously, and gained 25 pounds just to look more like Amon Goth.  At one point during filming, one of the survivors cowered in fear as she saw Fiennes because he resembled Amon Goth so vividly.  All together the acting in this movie was superb from everyone, and at no time in the movie is there any cheesy acting.

The cover of the Blu ray reads, “meticulously Remastered.”  I have to agree with that.  The Blu-ray version of this film looks amazing.  Even though the film was produced in 1993, the final print for this Blu-ray looks like it was filmed only a few years ago.  I have seen many remastered movies have blurring, glare, or choppy images, but this movie has none of those.  The movies also comes with a DVD, Digital Copy, and Ultra Violet Digital copy of the film.  The package comes with many special features to include a feature-length documentary on the Holocaust.  All together this Blu-ray will keep you busy for hours.

Spielberg planned this movie for a long time after a survivor wanted him to tell the story of Osker Schindler.  He did not want to direct it because he felt too immature for it, so he passed it along to Roman Polanski and Martin Scorsese.  In the end Spielberg took the reigns, and directed this.  It took ten years to finally go into production, but it is a good think Spielberg took it over.  I do not think anyone could have done a better job.  He filmed this movie on location at many of the actually sites were this movie took place.  He debunked the conventional method of filming movies with cranes, sound mics, and such, and filmed the movie with hand-held cameras.  He also insisted on filming the movie in black and white.  By doing this he made the movie fell more of a documentary, than a movie, and the movie really made you feel you were watching a movie from this time frame.  The way he filmed and directed this movie made this film an emotional experience for both the actors and audience alike.  Many times during filming, Spielberg himself could not look at the scenes being shot.  This is how powerful this movie is.

Although controversial in nature, this movie  serves as a wake up call to new and future generations as to what the human race can do to one another.  The film is masterfully done, and forever will remain one of the most powerful films ever made in my lifetime.  The proof of this is backed by the seven Academy Awards this film made.  So if you have already seen this movie, or have not seen it yet, go purchase it and watch it.  It will be a movie you have never experienced before, and an experience you will never forget.

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