movie film review | chris tookey

Schindler's List

© 1994 - Universal City Studios, Inc - all rights reserved
  Schindler's List Review
Tookey's Rating
10 /10
Average Rating
9.79 /10
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Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by: Steven Zaillian from Thomas Keneally’s book Schindler's Ark (later renamed Schindler's List)

Released: 1993
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Length: 196

ANTI Reviews

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"Propaganda with a purpose for asking for sympathy (for Jews) as well as to tarnish the other race."
(The Malaysian Film Censor Board, in a letter to Universal International Pictures, explaining why Schindler's List was to be banned in Malaysia.)
"Indiana Jones in the Cracow ghetto."
(Will Tremper, Die Welt)
"Spielberg fell into the most obvious Holocaust trap of all. Determined to render so meticulously the nature of Nazi evil, he streamlined the villainy and made it sterile and familiar - strangely exciting in high-gloss Hollywood fashion."
( Fred Bruning, Maclean's)
“Leave it to Steven Spielberg to make a feel-good movie entertaiment about the ultimate feel-bad experience. And don’t worry about dsinner afterwards - Schindler’s List is a tasteful movie.”
(J. Hoberman, Village Voice)
"Unfortunately, Fiennes is not the lead actor in Schindler's List. Liam Neeson is, and that's where the movie becomes problematic. A big, handsome lug, Neeson looks just right to play Schindler, the reallife German entrepreneur who found in Nazi-occupied Poland a business climate in which at last he could not fail. It seems Schindler's one talent was his sociability; as he's embodied by Neeson, you can see why soldiers and profiteering officials would warm to his company. What you don't see, given Neeson's opaque performance, is the process by which Schindler gradually became driven to protect "his" Jews, ultimately rescuing more than a thousand. Spielberg, too, must be charged with this opacity - he's never had any interest in mere people and so has never learned the tricks of developing characters. But is this a fault in Schindler's List? I think Spielberg has in fact converted his incapacity into the virtue of reticence. Schindler should be an enigma. We in the audience are never allowed the comfort of believing that we understand this man - let alone that we would match his heroism."
(Stuart Klawans, Nation)
"The film never successfully explains what drives Neeson, a Nazi party member, a heretofore unremarkable man and frankly a bit of a cad and a swine, to such a change of mind and heart and to such spectacular acts of heroism. There is almost nothing here about his life before the war. The movie depicts his epiphenomenal moment as the sighting of a little Jewish girl in a scarlet coat (the only gash of color until the coda) in the Cracow ghetto. But that seems thin and pat. Despite admirable intentions and the undeniable splendor of his craft, ultimately what Spielberg has told is the story of the list; he has not told the story of Schindler."
(Joanne Kaufman, Time)
"While in the prolonged, lachrymose ending, Schindler reminds his former laborers that they are the heroes, since they have done all the surviving, viewers have just seen three hours of evidence to the contrary. The film is about Schindler's genius, Schindler's survival instincts, and Schindler's centrality to all events. Like Vietnam War movies that have nothing to say about the Vietnamese, this is a Holocaust narrative where Jews, for all the scenes of ghetto liquidation, degradation, and execution, are rather marginal... Perhaps more troubling than Spielberg's sense of the Holocaust's heroes is his concept of its villains...The Nazi state was created not by psychopaths and drug addicts, but by lawyers, corporate executives, businessmen, professors, even clergymen... Spielberg's simplistic view of heroes and villains, his unproblematical approach to a topic that reveals a profound horror by seeing its complexity, is at the root of the film's error. The savagery of Nazism isn't to be located in the whims of a deranged brute, but in assumptions nascent within our entire civilization. Nazism was a manifestation of a political, economic, and philosophical world view that still is implicated deeply in our basic institutions. It is precisely the type of phenomenon that Hollywood is ill-equipped and uninterested in representing."
(Christopher Sharrett, USA Today)
“Two jokes I heard in Israel: 1/ There’s no business like Shoah business. 2) Do you know why Hitler killed himself? He got his gas bill. Are these jokes revolting? They may or may not be, but they are legitimate attempts to use a dramatic form (the joke) to address the insoluble and oppressive phenomenon of genocide. Schindler’s List, on the other hand, is an exploitation film.”
(David Mamet)

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