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History in Black and White
on 24 November 2007
Thomas Keneally's bestselling book was made into a movie of awesome power and emotional impact. Oskar Schindler was a Catholic war profiteer during World War II. He initially prospered because he went along with the Nazi regime and did not challenge it. But Schindler ultimately saved the lives of more than 1,000 Polish Jews by giving them jobs in his factory, which turned out crockery for the German army. Schindler lost his wealth, but gained salvation for many lives and the descendants that would spring from those lives.
Like Raging Bull and Rumblefish, this film is shot in black and white which accentuates the impact whenever there is the odd colour scene as in the end with the girl in the red coat after liberation of the prisoners. Despite the movie's considerable length, it is never slow or dull. It is hard to believe that Hollywood, which so often churns out mindless drivel aimed at making money, could produce something so important and powerful as this film.
Much credit is due to the three main actors -- Liam Neeson as Schindler, Ben Kingsley as his Jewish accountant (and, on occasion, Schindler's conscience), and Ralph Fiennes as the frightening Nazi commandant. The film won seven Oscars, but its best accomplishment may be reminding us that we must never forget what happened.