Schindler’s List

I finally saw Schindler’s List a mere 12 years after it came out in the theaters. I’ve been meaning to see this movie ever since it came out but wanted to be able to fully experience it by being ready for the graphic nature of the story and that moment never seemed to come, until last night when I got home from work and Wendy and the boys were still in Oroville visiting their Great Grandparents.

It was a very good movie and it is understandable why it won the awards that it did. It was far less graphic than I expected it to be from Holocaust perspective and much more graphic from a sexual perspective than I expected. There were way to many women in bed with exposed breasts. The Holocaust violence was well balanced in the sense that nothing was hidden but nothing was over “exploited” to pull on the heart strings. It was just raw. But again, there was far less of it from a number of minutes perspective than I expected.

I also thought that this was a two, maybe two and a half hour movie stretched to three plus hours. The beginning of the movie felt very surreal and didn’t do much to build up the movie other than to force the viewer to concentrate very intensely to try and understand what was being put together.

The heart of this movie doesn’t really kick in until the last hour although the preceding portions do a lot of necessary ground work the make the last hour have the impact it does. Particularly moving is the climax when Oskar realizes what his work had actually accomplished and as a consequence realized how much more he wishes he could have done.

If you haven’t seen it, you should. It is an important movie that touches on more than just the Holocaust but also the nature of oppression, suffering, opportunism, redemption and salvation.

I had a number of “out-growth” thoughts regarding the movie:

– Oskar in the end is made out to be the hero of the movie when in many ways he was a compromised soul going through the process of redemption. It makes me sick to think the far more holy soul Pope Pius XII is called “Hitler’s Pope” when he in fact saved far more lives than Mr. Schindler did while maintaining the moral high ground. For anyone who’s interested in reading another story of a man who is struggling behind the scenes to save as many lives as possible should read Hitler, the War, and the Pope.
– There is a great temptation amongst religious of all stripes to isolate themselves from the rest of the world. This is an understandable desire as there is so much temptation in the world that we’d like to avoid. However, it is only by operating in the world that we can do good for others. Oskar was definitely a man of the world. A man locked up in a monastery would not have seen what Oskar saw and would have been powerless to do what Oskar did. As it is said, we must live in this world but not of this world.
– On a completely different topic, it’s amazing how many movies use the same stupid tactics to entertain or make an impact. This movie definitely used the “wear the audience down before we hit them with it” technique and I think that’s why the movie was 3+ hours long. Other examples not in this movie include “add a heart string tug that has nothing to do with the plot”, “the obligatory happy ending”, “the comic relief character” and of course “the gratuitous sex scene” amongst others. In fact, I’d be interested to hear what other ones you guys could come up with for stupid techniques used over and over to try to make a movie good.

One Response to “Schindler’s List”

  1. Ken's Brother Says:

    Ken, your last paragraph reminded me of a once cancelled VH1 program called Super Secret Movie Techniques, in which comedians exposed those kinds of tactics.
    It was a comedy gold mind!
    But now you see what I mean when I say that Spielberg went for the slam dunk and refused to allow us the audience to be intelligent on our own.