Pin It
Favorite

DVD Review 

by Sheri Boggs


The Believer, Dave Egger's addictive lit/pop culture magazine, ran a piece in their December 2003/January 2004 issue comparing The Pianist and Schindler's List. The Pianist, writer Jim Shepard points out, presents a more impressive but less accessible hero. While both movies are based on true stories, The Pianist's Wladyslaw Szpilman is erudite, genteel, accomplished -- yet mildly distant. While audiences feel for Szpilman, reduced to scrabbling about in the rubble of Warsaw with only a tin of pickles for company, it's Oskar Schindler's trajectory from self-serving businessman to unlikely hero that really stays with us -- and that has as much to do with his flawed, womanizing persona as his deeds. Szpilman survived the Holocaust, but Schindler used his power and influence to save others - though only after first profiting from their misfortune.


I love Schindler's List (which is just out on DVD this month), but it troubles me that I love it. There is much in Schindler's List that is beautiful - from Itzhak Perlman's haunting violin solo and how its use in the film underscores both a sense of tradition and ruination, to the end shot of a long line of Schindler Jews paying their final respects at Schindler's grave. And Spielberg's decision to shoot the film in black-and-white was pure genius - not only does the medium ape both the Leni Reisenthal propaganda films and the glamorous fare coming out of Hollywood during that era, it also lends itself to the pure, silvery light that Spielberg and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski use to such great effect. There are moments from the film -- Ralph Fiennes' terrifying monologue to his Jewish housemaid comes to mind -- that have stayed with me for more than ten years.


Steven Spielberg, however, is never more ingratiating than when he's making an Important Statement. Liam Neeson's otherwise astonishing portrayal of Schindler is marred by an emotional eleventh-hour meltdown that feels more like Spielberg crawling into our laps to make sure we got the point than anything else. In similar fashion, one of the extras on the DVD is essentially an infomercial on behalf of the Shoah Foundation. The Shoah Foundation does genuinely valuable work, but it feels oogly to be asked for money right after watching a film like Schindler's List.


Watch the film - it's as relevant today as it was 11 years ago. But the extra material can wait a day or two, once the spell of the film has subsided.





Publication date: 03/17/04

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Age of Zaycon
  • Age of Zaycon

    Spokane Valley's Zaycon Fresh found a way to make millions selling meat — and now it's trying to make a lot more
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Hazy Days of Summer
  • Hazy Days of Summer

    Smoke blankets the region; plus, Patty Murray on the proposed Iran deal
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Brick by Brick
  • Brick by Brick

    Development continues in downtown Spokane; here are some construction projects that could change the city's urban core
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Gathering at the Falls Pow Wow

Gathering at the Falls Pow Wow @ Riverfront Park

Aug. 28-30

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Sheri Boggs

  • Beer and Branding in PDX

    • Sep 15, 2005
  • Nightlife- Jukeboxes of Note

    The Baby Bar 827 W. 1st Ave. * 471-1234 I love the Baby Bar for so many reasons -- the intimacy, the bartenders, the d & eacute;cor... But most of all, I love it for its jukebox. This is no hellhole of Sting/Celine Dion adult contemporary; it's a well
    • Jun 23, 2005
  • Nightlife- Bands to Watch

    Gorilla and Rabbit Aside from the fact that you can't help but watch Gorilla and Rabbit, you really should keep an eye on them. As much of a part of the Spokane scene as the Makers, metal and mullets, these oversized stuffed toys have crank
    • Jun 23, 2005
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Manufacturing Fear

    Spokane's Republican sheriff says members of his own party are dangerously dividing people
    • Aug 12, 2015
  • Hopeless for Heroin

    As heroin deaths continue to rise in Washington state, what can a parent do to save a child from the depths of addiction?
    • Jul 29, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


marijuana


Comment


Publisher's Note


BUSINESS


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation