Top positive review
One of the most important films of the late 20th Century
on 7 November 2017
This Blu-Ray disc is an HD transfer of the DVD version. It contains the three-hour movie and various documentaries about the film from the time of the original DVD release (late 1990s).
Regularly voted one of the greatest films of all time and certainly this is one of the most important films of the late 20th Century.
Spielberg often attracts rather harsh and unjustifiable criticism, as being emotional and sentimental and producing low-brow films. Schindler’s List is sometimes condemned as being over-indulgent, deliberately manipulative and historically inaccurate. I sometimes fear there are rather unpleasant overtones in this, linked to the director’s Jewishness. Spielberg can get a hard press in Hollywood – it seems that producing very well crafted films, that have huge popular appeal (Jaws, ET, Jurassic Park, Colour Purple) is simply not good enough. Many of his early films were populist for sure and perhaps not at the intellectual cutting edge but I found them immensely entertaining. But with Schindler’s List, the Academy Award committee had to sit up and take note.
Schindler’s List propelled Spielberg’s filmmaking in another direction, mores serious, more poignant and more relevant. There are some historical inaccuracies for sure but maintaining the strength of the narrative for three hours is a remarkable achievement in a film. It was a hugely important film to make, and clearly a personal journey for Spielberg. The strength of its message is central. The Holocaust has been poured over and analysed and has seen innumerable fictional and documentary film productions over seven decades. To tackle it in an original and engaging way was Spielberg’s masterful achievement and the film, 24 years later, remains his crowning glory.
The acting is superb. Neeson, Kingsley and Fiennes excel in the central roles. The cinematography is crucial – you have the impression of looking in as an outsider on real events. The score adds to the poignancy. The closing sequences – Schindler saying goodbye to his workers at the factory and then the cut to modern-day Israel and the parade of the surviving Schindler Jews (placing stones on his grave) is one of the most powerful in any film.