Moving to Poland during the German occupation, Oskar Schindler (Neeson) was
a businessman who thought he could make his fortune during times of war. Using
a free Jewish workforce taken from the ghettos and camps of Krakow, he puts
them to work in his factory. As the war progresses, Schindler realises to
his horror what the Nazis have planned for the Jews, so he and his Jewish
accountant Itzhak Stern (Kingsley) make a list of 1100 prisoners that he is
going to take with him to his new factory in Czechoslovakia, saving them from
the gas chambers.
Steven Spielberg's Oscar winning triumph is one of the most
emotional, powerful and import films ever made.
Based on the book by Thomas Keneally, Schindler's List is the
definition of cinema. The film is not only a superb piece of art but it is
also an education tool in the battle against prejudice, religious intolerance
and genocide. Through the message that this movie conveys, current and future
generations will never forget one of the most evil acts ever committed in
human history, the slaughter of over 6 million Jews at the hand of the Nazis.
A powerful and emotional subject is brought to life by some
amazing performances. Liam Neeson is superb as Oskar Schindler giving a complex
performance that shifts from indifference towards his free workforce to complete
compassion when he realises what the Nazis have in store for them. Watching
Neeson's character's transformation from uncaring industrialist to emotional
saviour of 1100 people is totally enthralling and a career-defining role for
the distinguished and extremely talent actor. Sir Ben Kingsley is astounding
as Itzhak Stern, Schindler's accountant and later confidant. We follow his
story as much as we do Schindler's and through his and his family and friends
eyes, we witness atrocities committed by the Nazis first hand. His performance
can't fail to grab you and fill you with sheer emotion as we follow his character's
pain, loss and triumph over his oppressors. Ralph Fiennes brilliantly portrays
one of the most evil characters ever put to film, Commandant Amon Goeth. This
is a man who actually gained pleasure from the relentless torture and murder
of the Jewish people under his charge. This can't have been an easy role for
Fiennes to play but he gives it is all out of respect for the story and not
for the man he is portraying. What makes Goeth so evil is the fact that this
is a real man, not someone made up by the writers, so the thought of someone
being this monstrous just fills you with disbelief over the cruelty and mentality
of some sick and depraved individuals that have been given power.
This movie changed Steven Spielberg's career forever. He was
already a respected filmmaker but was known more for his big budget, family
oriented movies like 'Jurassic Park' and 'E.T.' than a serious director of
powerful, story driven films. People too easily forgot that he also directed
'The Colour Purple' and 'Empire of the Sun', to extremely good movies covering
powerful subjects. This movie changed all of that. The sheer scope and total
respect for the material sets this film apart from any other. Spielberg's
decision to make the movie in black and white only deepens its impact as you
feel you are watching footage from the era, witnessing the events first hand
for yourself. Backed up by some astonishing cinematography by Janusz Kaminski
and a wonderfully emotive score by John Williams, Schindler's List is an astounding
achievement in the glittering career of the master filmmaker.
Schindler's List is one of the most powerful and emotional movies
ever made. It is a film that everyone must see, without exception. Its power
storyline is not just one of history but one of education for future generations.
Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1 with Dolby Digital
5.1 and dts surround sound, the movie is presented beautifully. The mostly
black and white picture is extremely sharp and crystal clear. The surround
sound is superb throughout especially during the crowd scenes.
Voices from the List (1hr 17.28 mins)
Introduced by Steven Spielberg and using footage from The Survivors of the
Shoah Visual History Foundation, this documentary retells the events of the
film from the point of view of actually people from Schindler's list. This
emotional and powerful film allows survivors to tell their personal stories
from growing up in Poland to been taken by the Nazis. Each one of them talks
passionately about their wartime lives revealing how the Germans treated them
and what happened to their families. They also discuss what Oskar Schindler
was like and what he did for them. These extremely moving recounts are intercut
with images from the time that show the shocking reality of life in the camps.
The Shoah Foundation Story (11.26 mins)
Introduced by Steven Spielberg and narrated by Morgan Freeman, this short
featurette reveals the purpose of the Shoah Foundation and the work it is
doing to catalogue the 52,000 survivor accounts they have recorded since starting
in 1994. It also shows how the archive is used in education in schools around
the world. There is a telephone number and a website address to allow you
to make a donation to the Foundation.
Cast & Filmmakers Biographies
Text biographies of the cast and crew behind the film including information
on Steven Spielberg, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley.
About Oskar Schindler
A text and pictorial biography of the man who saved 1100 Jewish people from
almost certain death.
astonishing film is brilliantly presented on DVD. While the length of the
movie means that it is spread over two disks, the break comes at an advantageous
point and does not ruin the flow of the film. The "Voices from the List" documentary
is as moving as the film, if not more so and the look at the work of the Shoah
Foundation reveals the extraordinary work been down to preserve this part
of history. It would have been nice to have seen more about the actual making
of the movie but the quality of the documentary makes up for its absence.
This is a must own DVD for anyone's collection.