Schindler’s List

The Top 63 Marathon, part 58 (#6)

Title: Schindler’s List
Year: 1993
Length: 195 minutes
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Steven Zaillian, based on the book by Thomas Keneally
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes
Music: John Williams (and non-original music)
Distinctions: Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Score, Best Art Direction/Set Decoration and Best Editing; Oscar nominations for Best Actor (Neeson), Best Supporting Actor (Fiennes), Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Best Sound; currently #7 on the IMDb’s Top 250

My reaction
Synopsis: a WWII German businessman saves his slaves’ lives
How I saw it: on video a few times, most recently yesterday (rented from Netflix)
Concept: Terrible. It is probably possible to think of a concept for a movie that I would like less. I can’t do it, though; if you squeezed any more of my pet peeves into a single screenplay, it would just get silly.
Story: Indifferent. The holocaust you say? And all the main characters survive? Of course they do. It’s inspirational that way.
Characters: Indifferent. There’s some good development for Neeson’s character, I guess. The only thing that could possibly have saved the Nazi character from being complete crap (oh, look, a sadistic Nazi commander – I bet he won’t let Cinderella go to the ball) was an amazing performance by someone like Ralph Fiennes (check).
Dialog: Good.  Would have been “great,” but I had to take a point off for the text blurbs.
Pacing: Indifferent. Doesn’t need to be half as long, but I’ve been bored much more by shorter movies.
Cinematography: Great.
Special effects/design: Great.
Acting: Great.
Music: Good.
Subjective Rating: 5/10 (Indifferent). I don’t know what people see in this sort of movie. Okay, this one in particular is shot really well and all that, and I was able to appreciate the craftsmanship.  But the show-people-something-horrible-that-really-happened story just seems so… easy.
Objective Rating: 2.6/4 (Good).


2 Responses to Schindler’s List

  1. JOnKEnna says:

    I agree with most of what you say about this film. However the thing that saves it for me is the fact that it is genuinely moving not because millions died but because the characters are engaging. The most effective moment of the entire thing for me was Neeson beating himself up over not saving more people. (Btw I’m NOT a Neeson fan; I think almost every film he’s been in has been diabolical).

    As ever, love the blog…

    • Daniel says:

      I agree that (at least) that one scene is genuinely moving. But I wouldn’t say the characters are engaging. Apart from Schindler, they’re just victims and villains.

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