Schindler’s List (1993)
Reviewed on 2009 April 24
I think Steven Spielberg hit his zenith with this, the true story of a Sudetan-born German national whose womanizing, money-loving, bon-vivant lifestyle and head for business hid the fact he was saving over a thousand Jews during World War II, as the Nazis watched no less.
The film starts with a family observing the Sabbath, and as the candles burn down their smoke morphs into train smoke. The Nazis divided Poland and are herding the Jews into ghettos, but Oskar Schindler initially doesn’t see the horrors of the war — he sees it as an opportunity to make suitcases full of money. He launches Deutsche Enamel Fabrik and for a while lives the high life. After witnessing the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto, his focus changes to getting as many Jewish workers into the haven of his factory as he can, and works with his accountant Itzhak Stern (Sir Ben Kingsley, doing his usual flawless work) to rescue them.
Liam Neeson was amazing as the industrialist who gave up everything he had to save his people, and Ralph Fiennes gave such a reptilian portrayal of Plaszow SS demon Amon Göth that it’s deservedly known as one of the best factual movie villains. Eyewitness accounts of the real Göth state he was even worse, but the movie is harrowing enough to watch. The fact that’s it’s filmed in black and white instead of color make it seem like you’re watching the events as they actually happened.
Four chocolate morsels.