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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Oscar Review: Schindler's List (1993)

Dark. Gritty. Depressing. Painful. Real. Schindler's List is the true life story of one man's efforts to make a difference in the midst of one of the most terrible periods of world history.

In many ways, I think this film pretty much speaks for itself. I find it difficult to walk through the general storyline and do it justice. It chronicles such an emotionally charged subject as the Holocaust and is uncompromising in its depiction of the unthinkable horrors of life in WWII Europe for the Jewish population.

There is nothing about this film that doesn't serve the story. From the gruesome special effects, to the depths of emotion on the faces of every character, to the use of back and white all go towards not only pulling the audience into the story but helping them to really experience every moment.

AFI ranks Schindler's List at #9 and is the only film in the top 20 that was made after the late 1970s. Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) is noted as the #13 greatest film hero, while Amon Goeth, the evil Nazi commander played by Ralph Fiennes, comes in as the #15 villain.

Schindler's List dominated the '93 Academy Awards winning 7 Oscars out of 12 nominations - winning for Best Picture, Director (Steven Spielberg - his first), Cinematography (Janusz Kaminski), Art Direction, Editing, Adapted Screenplay (Steven Zaillian), and Original Score - earning John Williams his 5th statuette (he ranks 2nd in total music scoring wins with 5 and nominations with 38).

A truly great film.