Release year: 1993
Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenwriter: Steven Zaillian, Thomas Kenneally (book)
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Embeth Davidtz, Mark Ivanir, Jonathan Sagall, Shmuel Levy
Ratings: 7 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score. 5 Oscar nominations: Best Actor (Liam Neeson), Best Supporting Actor (Ralph Fiennes), Best Costume, Best Sound, Best Makeup. 3 Golden Globes: Best Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay.
The movie that Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan, 1998) calls his most personal and for which he refused to get paid (he felt it would be blood money and donated his salary to the Shoah Foundation instead) is also his most award winning and critically acclaimed movie with top places on most lists over best movies ever made. A glimpse into one of history’s bleak moments he has created a horrifying movie that doesn’t hold anything back when it comes to showing you the horror of war but somehow still manages to be a movie about hope and humanity. Telling the incredible story of one of real life’s heroes Oskar Schindler, Spielberg has created a modern classic with a haunting score from John Williams and stellar performances from both Neeson (Michael Collins, 1996), Kingsley (Gandhi, 1982) and Fiennes (The English Patient, 1996). While the latter delivered a frightening believable performance as a menacing and merciless man, the other two quietly fill the film with compasssion as they work together to try to make a difference in a mad world. Whether the bravest decicsion was to shoot it entirely in black and white or to break the colourless picture with a splash of red can be discussed, but there is no doubt that both decisions are effective. The black and white looks crisp, stunningly beautiful and pulls you right back in time making the actions on screen seem realistic and right in your face and when the red colour appears it makes it clear where Spielberg’s wants your focus to be, ensuring you get an understanding of the emotions being stirred inside Schindler’s mind leading him to a change that will affect so many people in the best possible way. Throughout the movie Spielberg masterly draw out one heartwrenching emotion after the other as only he can. There is a chance Schindler’s List will leave you feeling emotional raw and beaten but it will without doubt also leave you feeling hopefull and restore your faith in the human race. Magnificent.
When survivor Mila Pfefferberg was introduced to Ralph Fiennes on the set, she began shaking uncontrollably, as he reminded her too much of the real Amon Goeth.
Picture copyright: UIP