Adrien Brody
Thomas Kretschmann
Daniel Caltagirone
Frank Finlay
and Maureen Lipman

Roman Polanski

Running Time:
148 mins

Out to buy on DVD 18th August

When Germany invaded Poland, the Second World War began. For accomplished pianist Wiadyslaw Szpilman (Brody) and his family, the Nazi's had a different plan for them and the rest of the Polish Jewish community. Imprisoned in overcrowded Warsaw ghettos, the Germans started to transfer the elderly, women and children to labour camps outside of the capital. As this transfer increased, Szpilman managed to escape and spent the rest of the war trying to evade capture.

Roman Polanski directs a very personnel adaptation of Wiadyslaw Szpilman's novel about survival during the German occupation of Poland.

Holocaust dramas are filled very emotion and tragedy and this is no exception. Szpilman's autobiographical novel tells a tale of endurance and loss during one of the worst periods in human history. This is a story of personal triumph over supreme adversity, were the will to live and the power of music can sustain a persons resolve and empower them through even the bleakest times.

Adrien Brody is a revelation in the movie. He is on screen for almost the entire movie, which is a mammoth undertaking for an actor who his best known for small supporting roles in ensemble casts but his shoulders cope with his huge weight excellently. Brody's transformation from respected radio and concert pianist to desperate survivor is extraordinary. Changing both physically, he gets thinner and more emaciated as his plight progress, and mentally, getting more desperate and scared as the war progresses, Brody becomes the embodiment of survival under these extreme conditions. This is a breakout performance that will accelerate his career to more prominent, larger parts in character driven films.

He has good support from the surrounding cast. There parts are mostly small and supportive of the story as Szpilman's plight is the main story arch. Maureen Lipman is good as Szpilman's Mother and Thomas Kretschmann as Captain Wilm Hosenfeld is another standout performance.

The movie does have its problems. While its portrayal of the Nazi's treatment of the Polish Jewish community is shown in graphic detail, it is shown all too much in the second act of the film. There is really no need to show as many executions as they did, as the audience has got the message of how brutal German Officers were towards the imprisoned Jews many scenes earlier. This makes the second act overlong and quite repetitive. I would have also have like to have seen more of the Polish resistance but this would have moved the movie away from showing everything from Szpilman's prospective.

Roman Polanski has delivered a Holocaust movie that is both personal and moving. Polanski's own personal history with the time (He is a Holocaust survivor), his attention to detail and his gift for storytelling make the movie harrowing but uplifting story of survival and courage in the most extreme circumstances.

'A Story of Survival': a specially created documentary offering the viewer an in-depth look at the production of the film as well as an intimate insight into Roman Polanski's real-life survival during World War II, Photo gallery, Filmographies of director Roman Polanski with stars Adrien Brody and Thomas Kretschmann, International theatrical trailer, Interactive menu & Scene access

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