“Schindler’s List” is a difficult movie to watch. I can’t say it’s something you want to repeatedly view for entertainment because it’s so tragic and downright depressing. The last time I watched it was in 1993. If it wasn’t for the release of the movie on Blu-ray for its 20th anniversary, I quite possibly would’ve never seen the film again. All that being said, I’m glad I did. It was a reminder of the unspeakable events that unfolded during World War II and how easily they can happen.
Oskar Schindler is an industrial businessman and member of the Nazi Party. He uses his factory as a means of employing Jews and keeping them from being sent to the concentration camps. As he continues his crusade to save as many Jews as he can, he comes dangerously close to having his true intentions discovered by the Nazi officials he must act like he’s aligned with.
To say “Schindler’s List” is one of the most important films of the 1990s would be an understatement. It’s quite possibly one of the most significant ones of the entire 20th century. It captures the best of both worlds when it comes to filmmaking. Director Steven Spielberg used all the modern tools at his disposal and crafted a movie that looks timeless and will never be considered irrelevant in any decade to come.
The movie is as graphic as the subject matter demands it to be. The atrocities committed by the Nazis against the Jews need to be seen to pound home the horrific acts they unleashed upon them. Is it a bit too much for some people to see? Of course it is. If you think seeing it onscreen is tough, just think about how it was to live it.
My only problem with “Schindler’s List” is its scenes of sexuality. They are a distraction from the real purpose of the movie and give parents a reason to not allow their teenagers to view it. In a nutshell, they limit the amount of people who will be exposed to the movie.
I completely understand the nudity when it comes to the Jews having to strip down naked and run around the camp. This shows the sort of humiliation they were put through and helps the audience identify with it. There’s absolutely nothing sexy or sensual about that.
The 20th Anniversary Blu-ray edition of “Schindler’s List” was painstakingly restored and supervised by Steven Spielberg. The audio and video transfers are absolutely flawless. The picture is black and white with tiny splashes of color here and there throughout. The 5.1 surround sound uses the quiet of hiding and the noisy chaos of the Ghetto and concentration camps to properly put audiences in the middle of the circumstances unfolding on film.
The special features for the Blu-ray version of “Schindler’s List” will probably disappoint most consumers. There’s a 77-minute documentary entitled “Voices from the List” in which director Steven Spielberg interviews Holocaust survivors and their descendants. He also shares background on the organization he founded through the 5-minute featurette “USC Shoah Foundation Story with Steven Spielberg.” A promotional spot for the online application IWitness is also included.
“Schindler’s List” will go down in history as one of the most important films ever released in all of human history. Thanks to its cinematography and classic black and white format, it maintains a timeless feel that will serve it well in the decades to come. It is a welcome and essential addition to every home entertainment library.
“Schindler’s List: 20th Anniversary Limited Edition” is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
Blu-ray Review: “Argo”
Movie Review: “The Awakening”
Blu-ray Review: “The Odd Life of Timothy Green”