Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler
Ben Kingsley as Itzhak Stern
Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goeth
Caroline Goodall as Emilie Schindler
Schindler’s List is widely regarded as one of the greatest movies ever made. It won seven oscars and cemented Steven Spielberg’s place in the all-time high end of directors. After making a name for himself with horror movies (Jaws andJurassic Park, for example), kid’s movies (E.T, Hook). and the Indiana Jones series, Spielberg thought he was ready to suddenly shift to art. An ego problem? Maybe, but like they say, “it ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up.” And Spielberg could and did back it up.
Set in Nazi Germany, the storyline is about a list of over a thousand Jews that industrialist Oskar Schindler placed under legal protection… well, “protection” is still too nice a word. These Jews are still treated like animals. But they are not sent to concentration camps to be literally worked and starved to death. No genocide for Oskar’s Jews. They are merely to be treated as slaves.
However, what really drives the picture is how it shows what life was like for German Jews under the oppressive thumb of Adolf Hitler. We see a poor, oppressed people who are subjected to constant insults and even beatings. One of the highlights is the scene where a soldier is preparing to execute a Jew, but his gun is jamming. He repeatedly tries to fix it, to no avail. Each click is almost in the Jew’s face and you better believe the hapless prisoner is scared. Finally, the soldier walks away and is like, “screw it, I’ll kill him later.”
Speaking of which, we get to see just how mean and nasty even the average German folk were. From civilians cheering on demonstrations where Jews are being paraded away like the kills at the old big fox hunts to a soldier being punished severely for kissing a Jewish woman, the evil that was apparently very easy to succumb to during those times and at that place is put on horrifying display for all to see.
Schindler’s List ends on a positive note at last. With the end of the war, the Holocaust ends and we fast forward to the modern day. We see that Schindler is seen as a hero to many because he saved so many Jews. And make no mistake — in the political climate of Nazi Germany, he was risking his life in doing so.
All in all , Schindler’s List is not to be missed. As a historical film, it’s a grim look at a history we can’t ignore; As a drama, it’s a true classic.
Overall: 9 out of 10