REVIEW: “The Post”

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Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” is set in an era when the media (generally speaking) wasn’t egregiously compromised by the political pulls of the left or the right. It was a time (more often than today) when principle took precedent over ideology and the media took seriously the role of equally holding all elected officials accountable to the people. There is far less of that today, although I’m not sure Spielberg and company would agree with me.

“The Post” starts in 1965 with war analyst Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) discovering government deception concerning Vietnam policy and progress. The story bolts forward a few years with Ellsberg stealing classified documents that reveal years of misinformation by the government dating all the way back to the Truman administration. He leaks the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times who run a front page expose before having their story shut down by a court injunction.

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All of that is setup for the meat of the story which takes place in 1971, Washington D.C. Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) has inherited The Washington Post newspaper following her husband’s suicide, but serving as its publisher and president has been a tough ride. Not counting her own personal lack of confidence, she’s also forced to navigate several obstacles from insecure board members to investors uncomfortable with a woman running the company. For the bulk of the film Spielberg does a good job tapping into the current red-hot women’s issues. It’s later that he moves from effectively showing us the inequality to spelling it out for us. But more on that later.

Her go-getter editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) knows there is more to uncover so he sends his crack assistant editor Ben Bagdikian (a really good Bob Odenkirk) to track down the New York Times’ source. And when sensitive documents fall into their lap, Katharine must decide whether to let Bradlee print the story risking incarceration and the livelihood of her paper.

Spielberg deftly bounces between Katharine’s personal journey and Bradlee’s newsroom. Both are given plenty of time to unfold and develop. As you would expect, Streep is very good and completely in her element. It isn’t an extraordinary performance, but it’s work from her that we sometimes take for granted. Hanks is a different story. It’s not that he’s bad here. He feels off – as if he’s really stretching to sell us a character that Jason Robards did better (and won an Oscar for) 42 years ago.

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Katharine’s stirring story and the thrilling newsroom drama come together in a tense and powerful meeting of the minds (and wills) which Spielberg unpacks to near perfection. But then something happens in the final fifteen minutes or so. In rapid succession the film begins dropping one corny, contrived ‘movie moment’ after another. Storytelling gives way to speechifying and the movie’s themes (previously explored through the story itself) are propped up by glaringly obvious scenes manufactured to the point of phoniness. And then you have Spielberg often straining to make a connection between the Nixon and Trump administration. Again, the material is there, but Spielberg sometimes feels the need to speak for it.

“The Post” does far more right than wrong. For a good three-quarters of his movie Spielberg brilliantly balanced two very different but equally enthralling stories. And for a while I was seeing it as a wonderful “All the President’s Men” companion piece. It’s just a shame the final act resorts to cheap scenes and sappy speeches that seem directly aimed at Oscar voters. But as his movie had already shown, Spielberg didn’t need all of that and the bulk of the picture is an enthralling experience.

VERDICT – 3.5 STARS

3-5-stars

REVIEW: “Bridge of Spies”

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A Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks collaboration is a sure-fire attention getter. Such is the case with “Bridge of Spies”, an old school Cold War espionage drama made to bloom as awards season approaches. The trailers are a tad misleading. This is a dialogue-driven thriller that crafts its suspense through its many scenes of political back-and-forths, judicial wrangling, and contentious negotiations.

The story is based on the embarrassing U-2 incident which occurred in 1960 under the watch of President Dwight Eisenhower. It actually begins three years prior after a Soviet spy named Rudolph Abel (Mark Rylance) is captured by the FBI. Wanting to give the appearance of a fair trial, the government appoints insurance attorney James Donovan (Hanks) to represent him. The prosecution, the judge, the government, and the media all seek to make an example out of Abel. Donovan sees things different.

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Donovan is a man of principle and stands firm in his belief that everyone including Abel deserves due process. This sparks outrage among government agencies, the American public, and even Donovan’s own family. This is the film’s early focus. We spend a lot of time with the development of Donovan and Abel’s relationship and the uphill battle they face in the courts of law and public opinion.

Spielberg begins breaking away to young pilots being trained for a top secret reconnaissance mission over the Soviet Union. Among them is Francis Gary Powers who is shot down and taken prisoner by the Soviets. Fearing that Powers will give up vital intelligence, the government sends Donovan to East Berlin where he is to negotiate a hostage exchange – Abel for Powers.

Negatively, these breakaways are intended to provide context to Donovan’s mission, but they don’t offer much. None of the characters we get in these scenes are all that interesting or compelling. Even Powers himself offers nothing more than a face to the negotiations. This wasn’t a major flaw but it did seem like wasted time and it made the film drag a bit.

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Also, one of the most fascinating parts of the story was the ‘fish out of water’ element – an insurance lawyer in hostile territory negotiating between two global enemies. But I never got the sense that Donovan was too worried or fearful. Certainly there are scenes where he feels the pressure, but I would have loved to see more tension, uncertainly, and internal struggle. Instead he handles his tasks as he would any normal insurance settlement back home.

I don’t think the blame for that goes to Hanks. His performance is superb. There is no doubt that this role is right in his comfort zone. Donovan’s down-to-earth everyday man qualities are no problems for Hanks. He has been a master of that type of character for years. I also loved the subdued performance from Mark Rylance, a fine British theater actor. His Abel manages to be the most interesting person on screen even though he offers practically no flash at all.

in DreamWorks PIctures/Fox 2000 PIctures' dramatic thriller BRIDGE OF SPIES, directed by Steven Spielberg, Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell) is an American U-2 pilot shot down over the Soviet Union.

And then there is Spielberg. There is such satisfaction in watching a master of his craft work. The film was written by Mark Charman (and polished up by Joel and Ethan Coen). Spielberg lets their script breathe by directing with tremendous restraint. He grants his actors room to work and allows the story to unfold at an organic pace. There is practically none of that overpowering Spielberg flair that we have seen in the past. Just steady and compelling storytelling nestled in a wonderfully rendered Cold War setting.

Don’t let the trailers fool you. “Bridge of Spies” is no thrill a minute edge-of-your-seater. Instead it is a talky yet quietly made period drama. It is a fine reflection of vintage moviemaking mixed with a riveting story. It may never be heralded among Spielberg’s very best, but it does feature many of his best filmmaking traits (shaky political subtext aside). And mixed with a fine performance from Hanks, it seems primed and ready for the inevitable attention it will get come awards time.

VERDICT – 4 STARS

4 Stars

REVIEW: “Jurassic World”

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When will they ever learn? Sure, the idea of mixing living, breathing dinosaurs with a theme park sounds like a lucrative can’t-miss idea. But three movies have proven that it leads to nothing but disaster (and a boatload of box office cash). The Jurassic Park franchise has laid dormant for 14 years so it shouldn’t be a big surprise that this sequel and reboot driven movie era would usher in a new installment. What made it an easier decision was the fact that all three of the previous movies did extremely well at the box office. So Universal Studios greenlights a $150 million budget and the result is “Jurassic World” – a poster child for safe, crowd pleasing, summer popcorn flicks.

“Jurassic World” recycles several things from the first film except this time things are a little cheesier, motivations are a little goofier, and many of the people are a little dumber. But that doesn’t mean the film is short on big cool dinosaur moments. There were times when I literally laughed and shook my head at the corny dialogue or stereotypical character. At the same time there were several scenes where I found myself absolutely thrilled at the action or the spectacle on the screen. It’s a conflicting mixture of good and bad which makes my final thoughts on the film hard to nail down.

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Chris Pratt is everywhere these days and in “Jurassic World” he stays within his ‘likable, everyday guy’ comfort zone. He plays a velociraptor trainer named Owen working in the Jurassic World theme park. He’s joined by a plump cast featuring Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire, the park’s director of operations, her two nephews (and obligatory kids) Zach and Grey, B.D. Wong as the park’s chief scientist responsible for creating the dinos, Irrfan Lhan as Simon, the owner and bankroller of the park, Vincent D’Onofrio as the sleazy, shady Hoskins, Omar Sy as Owen’s buddy and fellow trainer Barry, and a host of others.

Basically the story places all if these characters on the island park each with their own little threads of story. For example Claire has agreed to keep her nephews for the week even though she is too busy at the park to entertain them. The boys have the baggage of a possible divorce between their parents back home. Claire had a brief ‘thing’ with Owen in the past but that’s long gone. Now he is butting heads with Hoskins who wants to use Owen’s velociraptors for nefarious purposes. Simon has noble intentions but his demands for bigger attractions open the door for his aggressive science team to do some pretty questionable experiments. And on and on and on. Rarely do any of these subplots leave an impression, but they set the table for the movie’s main attractions – big dinosaurs.

One thing “Jurassic World” does well is presentation. Visually the world we see is vast and filled with impressive creatures and cool landscapes. The dinosaurs themselves look great. Their movements and the way they blend into the world almost allows the audience to completely forget the heavy CGI behind it. I was also impressed by the design and feel of the park. The rides, exhibits, and attractions were well thought out and genuinely believable taking elements from everything from Sea World to Disneyland. Overall the film is just as visually strong as you would expect, and those going for the wild dino-carnage will not be disappointed.

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But I can’t say the same if you’re going into “Jurassic World” hoping for an engaging story. At its very base level the story gets by, but there are plenty of other things that simply don’t work. Again, the characters are pretty one-dimensional, stereotypical, and forgettable. We aren’t given anyone to latch onto. Some are just flat-out bad. D’Onofrio’s Hoskins may be the prime example. The performance isn’t great but the way he is written is even worse. Then there are turns in the story that are too stupid to let slide. I won’t spoil anything but certain evil plans we see are beyond preposterous. Then throw in some incredibly cheesy dialogue and scenes which actually had me laughing and shaking my head in the theater.

So storytelling isn’t the strong point of “Jurassic World”. In fact, the writing keeps it from being the intelligent, engaging film that it could be. But at the same time I actually found myself entertained in the way that big budget summer popcorn flicks sometimes manage to pull off. The visual spectacle, the dinosaur fights, the theme park environment all work to immerse you in a really cool setting. It’s just too bad the underwhelming story, narrative hiccups, and bland characters drag it down to passable but ultimately forgettable levels.

VERDICT – 3 STARS

3 Stars

THE TOP 10 FILMS OF 2012

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Folks, its time for the big one! The 2012 movie year is over and done so that means its Top 10 time. This is my favorite part of the movie season – a chance to reflect back on the past year in movies and heap praise on the films that I think are the 10 best. 2012 started off a little slow but ended up being a pretty strong year for both the big blockbusters and for small independent cinema. But enough with the buildup. (Imagine a small but steady drumroll) May I introduce The Keith & the Movies Top 10 Movies of 2012…

Before I get to the 10 best, I do want to mention three films that I desperately wanted to see before making this list. Unfortunately it’s not going to happen for another week or so. They are “Zero Dark Thirty”, “Rust and Bone”, and “Amour”. I would also like to throw out a few honorable mentions. These were fantastic movies that I loved and that just missed the cut (click their names for full reviews)…. “Damsels in Distress’, “The Hobbit“, “The Kid with a Bike“, “Bernie“, “Looper“, “Delicacy“, “Les Miserables”

Frankenweenie#10 – “FRANKENWEENIE” – I’m as shocked as you. The idea that a Tim Burton picture would be on my Top 10 list amazes me. I’m not a Burton fan but “Frankenweenie” is an animated delight. It’s one part tender tale about a boy and his dog and another part the Frankenstein story and it works beautifully as a collective whole. It’s also an old school horror movie homage with tons of fun references to everything from the monster pictures of the 1950s to the classic Universal horror films. But the key reason it works is that Burton wisely focuses more on telling a good story than promoting his unique style. The result is a fabulous animated treat that I adored.

Prometheus#9 – “PROMETHEUS” – I know this will be a controversial pick just judging by the variety of differing opinions about this film. But I gotta say that I loved “Prometheus”. I loved the universe. I loved the special effects. I loved most of the cast. I loved its open-endedness. Are there holes in the logic here and there? Sure. But for me Ridley Scott supplied me with another exciting sci-fi experience that may not answer all the questions as it advertises, but it still reminds me of what an intelligent and visionary filmmaker he is. I stand firmly beside “Prometheus” and sincerely hope that the $400 million box office was enough to ensure us a follow-up.

Lincoln#8 – “LINCOLN” – Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” is a movie that may surprise a lot of people. While there are a few Speilberg overindulgences, as a whole he really dials it back and it works beautifully. This isn’t a film steeped in huge set pieces and heavy melodrama. This is a performance driven drama with possibly the best ensemble casts of the year. Daniel Day-Lewis reaffirms his status as the greatest working actor with a fine performance. Critic Leonard Maltin called the performance miraculous and I have to agree. He loses himself in this towering historical character and I was hooked on every line and every mannerism. That’s the biggest reason the film worked so incredibly well.

Impossible#7 – “THE IMPOSSIBLE” – There have been many disaster movies that have made their way onto the big screen. But none has ever gripped me and affected me the way “The Impossible” did. This is one of the most poignant and powerful pictures I watched all year. It’s also a draining and at times difficult movie to endure. But the reward is overwhelming as we watch the best of people come out in a truly devastating circumstance. This is an intelligent and respectful film about the Indian Ocean tsunami and it’s aftermath. Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor give stunning performances and newcomer Tom Holland should garner a lot of attention. Don’t brush this movie aside as just another disaster film. It’s so much more.

SKYFALL#6 – “SKYFALL” – It wasn’t until Daniel Craig took the reigns of 007 that I became a huge James Bond fan. Now I’m hooked. “Skyfall” is a wonderful action thrill ride from director Sam Mendes and is arguably the best Daniel Craig Bond picture yet. It’s loaded with the expected blow-your-socks-off action shoot-outs and car chases. But it also fleshes out Bond more as a person, something I really responded to. Javier Bardem, while underused, is a blast and it was great to see Judi Dench’s role expanded. “Skyfall” has raked in over $1 billion dollars worldwide but it’s well deserved. This is just more proof that big budget films can and should knock it out of the park.

ARGO#5 – “ARGO” – For my money Ben Affleck has proven himself to be an incredibly capable director. “Argo” is a shining example of his abilities behind the camera. This sizzling picture set during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979 is an edge-of-your-seat thriller anchored by a fantastic cast, sharp direction, and Chris Terrio’s slick and intelligent screenplay. It dramatizes the absurdity of the real life hostage rescue in a way that had me glued to the screen. And the perfectly realized sense of time and location just seal the deal. It also features what may be the best opening 20 minutes I have seen in several years. I love “Argo”. It’s storytelling at its finest.

AVENGERS4 – “THE AVENGERS” – It has become the norm for Hollywood to release several big budget superhero movies each year. But very few are as good as “The Avengers”. This was one of the most ambitious projects and it had potential to be a disaster. It was far from that. “The Avengers” was one of the most well-conceived and well-executed movies of the year thanks to the clever and often times hilarious screenplay from Joss Whedon. Loud laughs and thunderous applause filled the theater during both of my big screen viewings and I was right there with them. In terms of sheer fun at the movies, “The Avengers” was tops and that makes up for any tiny flaw it may have otherwise.

MOONRISE#3 – “MOONRISE KINGDOM” – It’s safe to say that I have evolved into a full-blown Wes Anderson fan. “Moonrise Kingdom” solidified that for me. This is a film that perfectly encapsulates Anderson’s special brand of humor and style. There’s a beautiful and sensitive story of eccentric children’s puppy love and their feelings of not belonging. But there’s also the story about the adults within a small New England community and all their imperfections. And then there’s Anderson’s razor-sharp script – some of the best writing of the year. Great performances, hilarious moments, perfectly quirky music, and an artful 1960’s aesthetic are all spread across Anderson’s gorgeous canvas.

BEASTS#2 – “BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD” – This is a movie that I didn’t catch up with until later in the year. Suffice to say it really blew my mind. This was clearly the biggest surprise of the year for me as well as the most moving and emotional film of 2012. A first time director and two first time performances create an experience that pulls you into the isolated and poverty-stricken world of a 6-year old girl named Hushpuppy. It’s sometimes heartwarming and sometimes deeply unsettling, but it’s riveting cinema throughout. This is small and little known film that is finally getting an audience and stands above most every film of 2012.

DARK KNIGHT#1 – “THE DARK KNIGHT RISES” – No other movie of 2012 combined the thrill of adrenaline-fueled action with the art of pure cinematic storytelling. Christopher Nolan wrapped up his phenomenal Dark Knight trilogy with yet another sharp and layered movie. Tom Hardy is a brute presence and Ann Hathaway makes Selina Kyle (a.k.a. Catwoman) a much more grounded character. The entire film is laced with a tinge of realism but it’s still a rousing superhero experience. Some have had issues with this film but I found it to be brilliant and the perfect ending to one of my personal favorite trilogies. This is also Nolan’s third straight film to end up as my year-end #1. Bravo!

So there they are, my 10 Best Films from the 2012 year. What are your thoughts? Where did I go wrong? What’s your favorite film of 2012?

 

*After writing this I was able to catch up with “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Amour”. Let me say that both would make my Top 10 without a doubt!

5 PHENOMENAL MOVIES FROM 1981

I recently did a Phenomenal 5 on the movies of 1980. Well now it’s time for 1981. As a kid of the 80’s, there are so many of these films that strike a nostalgic chord with me. There are also many genuinely classic pictures that came out of the decade that still stand up today. As I look at these years I’ve decided to allow both nostalgia and classic movies to influence my choices. That was never more evident than with my picks for the year 1981. Of course, with so many movies released that year, I couldn’t call this the definitive list. But there is no denying that these 5 movies from 1981 are certainly phenomenal.

#5 – “AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON”

1981 wasn’t the greatest year for movies but it did give us some memorable ones including “An American Werewolf in London”. This crazy mix of horror and comedy follows two American backpackers vacationing through the English countryside. They are attacked by a werewolf which kills one and leaves the other in a London hospital. But everyone knows that if you’re bit by a werewolf you’ll turn into a werewolf and so this story goes. The film features some truly fantastic special effects and Academy Award winning makeup. But one thing that set this apart from most horror pictures is its clever sense of humor from the dialogue to the various moon-oriented songs. It definitely mixes laughs with its buckets of gore.

#4 – “CLASH OF THE TITANS”

I wouldn’t normally think a fantasy film starring Harry Hamlin would be a good experience. But when you throw in Laurence Olivier, Burgess Meredith, and special effects from the master of stop-motion animation Ray Harryhausen, I’m automatically onboard. This mythological fantasy picture pits our bushy haired hero Perseus against an awesome assortment of creatures including Medusa and of course the mighty Kraken. Sure the movie is campy and loaded with cheese. But there were many of these fantasy movies that hit the theaters during the 70’s and 80’s and “Clash of the Titans” is one of the best of them.

#3 – “THE ROAD WARRIOR”

“The Road Warrior” was the second film in the Mad Max series and it was the movie that put Mel Gibson on the international map. This Australian action picture from George Miller creates one of the most impressive postapocalyptic landscapes in the movies. Gibson’s Max is a tough-as-nails ex-cop who ends up helping a group of settlers who are being terrorized by a murderous gang. The film features some amazing action, none better than the breath-taking vehicle chase scene at the end that still rivals anything else like it. This isn’t a movie that will appeal to everyone but it’s one I thoroughly enjoy.

#2 – “THE EVIL DEAD”

“The Evil Dead” remains one of my favorite horror pictures of all time and to this day it still creeps me out. Two friends and aspiring filmmakers Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell made “The Evil Dead” with a tiny budget of around $350,000. Now it’s blossomed into a cult classic with two really good sequels. A group of college kids head out to spend their spring break in a cabin in the woods. Once there, they discover The Book of the Dead and end up unleashing a horde of demons who begin killing them off one-by-one. It’s unashamedly gory but intensely creepy. It’s also a great example of quality filmmaking without the benefit of boatloads of money. And of course Campbell is a blast to watch. This is without a doubt a horror movie classic.

#1 – “RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK”

Without a doubt, one of my favorite movies from the 80’s was Steven Spielberg’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. Not only was this a classic action picture but it introduced one of the most iconic cinema heroes of all time – Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford makes Indiana great through his pitch-perfect performance, rugged grit, and cracking whip. The movie features one of the greatest action-fueled character introductions you’ll find as Indiana and a young Alfred Molina venture into a deadly cave to retrieve a golden head. But his true adventure starts after he finds out the Nazis may have found the lost Ark of the Covenant. Indy races off to find it before the Nazi’s do and encounters a great assortment of friends and villains along the way. Brilliant construction, amazing action sequences, and just the right amount of humor help make this a true movie classic.

There are my five picks of phenomenal movies from 1981. Do you see one that I missed? Disagree with my selections? Please take time to share your thoughts.

REVIEW: “SCHINDLER’S LIST”

Many movies have looked at the Jewish Holocaust from a variety of different angles. There have been films that examined it through the eyes of children, those that have focused on specific regions, and others that show individuals who went to great lengths to help the persecuted Jews. A well done movie on the subject always has a strong effect on me. It’s not just the terrible things and disturbing images that filmmakers are showing us, but it’s the fact that they are dealing with a very real and devastating time in our world’s history. The Nazi slaughter of 6 million Jews marks one of the world’s darkest times. But it’s also a period that should never be forgotten and there are several films that help us remember.

While many movies have done an excellent job responsibly depicting events surrounding the Holocaust, Steven Spielberg’s 1993 movie “Schindler’s List” is the one that has had the strongest impact on me personally. I recently had an opportunity to revisit the film. It had been several years since I had last saw it and with good reason. It’s not an easy movie to watch. It features some of the most realistic and graphic depictions of Nazi violence and mistreatment of the Jews and doesn’t shy away from presenting it in a crushing and penetrating way. From their initial relocation to Krakow’s Jewish Ghetto to their brutal and deadly time spent in the Nazi extermination camps, we see the Jews experience all forms of cruelty and brutality made more disturbing by its roots in reality.

The Jewish plight is brilliantly and cleverly shown through the true story of Oskar Schindler. Schindler, played wonderfully by Liam Neeson, is a German businessman who arrives in occupied Krakow in hopes of making a load of money exploiting the war. At first, Schindler is a self-absorbed, money-hungry man who quickly finds acceptance by kissing up to an assortment of high-ranking German SS officers. Through bribes and his Nazi Party membership, Schindler obtains several contracts to make metal pots and pans for the German soldiers in the field. To secure even more money for himself, he brings in a Jewish workforce who work considerably cheaper than the local Catholic Poles. To keep his fledgling company up and going, he hires Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), an accomplished Jewish accountant and highly regarded member of the Jewish community. It’s through this relationship that Schindler begins to see his perceptions change.

Coinciding with SS Officer Amon Goeth’s (Ralph Fiennes) arrival at the Plaszow concentration camp, the Germans raid and empty the Krakow Ghetto, shipping Jews to the camp and slaughtering almost 2,000 in the streets. As Schindler witnesses the atrocities taking place, he’s deeply troubled and an internal conflict begins between his desire for a money-making business and his growing affection for his Jewish workers. He struggles with the temptation to take his money and leave the city. Instead he sets out to use his fortune to try to save his workers and as many other Jews as he can. To do so requires him to get close to high-ranking Nazi’s like Goeth making it all the more difficult.

The story of Oskar Schindler and his personal transformation is quite moving and Liam Neeson is nothing short of brilliant in his portrayal. Neeson’s Schindler is a confident and looming opportunist. Even Spielberg’s camera makes him stand head and shoulders about so many of the people he is in contact with. That’s just one reason the ending is so stirring (I’ll leave it at that for those who haven’t seen the film). I was particularly enamored with the relationship between Schindler and Stern. You initially see the two on a strictly business level. Neither really like or trust the other. But as mentioned, it’s this growing friendship that plays a key role in Schindler’s transformation. I talked about the fantastic work of Neeson. Let me just say Kingsley is equally good and I still view this as his very best performance.

I also have to take time to praise Ralph Fiennes and his incredible work as Goeth, easily one of the most detestable villains on film. Fiennes visually captures this sick and twisted personification of evil. While Schindler does find ways to manipulate Goeth, his ingrained wickedness never goes away and we see it on display through some of the movie’s more disturbing scenes. What makes the character more frightening is that the movie doesn’t stray that far in its portrayal of the real Amon Goeth. He was a sadistic cold-hearted murderer who is said to have killed close to 550 Jews himself. That’s not counting the thousands he sent to be executed. Spielberg included several scenes that show Goeth’s murderous tendencies including his penchant for sniping Jewish workers in the camp from the terrace of his château on the hill. This sick bit of reality only makes the character more despicable and Fiennes sell it perfectly.

“Schindler’s List” is also a technical achievement. Spielberg’s decision to shoot it in black and white was perfect. It gives the movie an added feel of authenticity and when mixed with the frequent hand-held camera work and strategically placed wide angled shots, it makes you believe you’re watching a documentary. The clever style of several scenes almost resemble old film footage of the actual events. It’s that convincing. The movie was shot in a way that resembled a more classic style of filmmaking but yet never shied away from the harsh reality it was depicting. The movie was helped by being filmed on or near the locations of the actual events. Spielberg’s desire for realism really pays off and the locations were a big part of it. But that same desire for realism also made filming difficult for the director. It’s been said he cried repeatedly during the filming and there were certain scenes he literally couldn’t watch.

While “Schindler’s List” is a great film, it can also be a difficult movie for audiences to watch. It’s a movie that’s sometimes painful and emotionally draining. But it’s also a film of immense power and the deepest sincerity. It’s a visually stunning war picture that makes you feel as though you are witnessing these horrific events first-hand. It’s also a story of incredible personal transformation in the middle of some of our world’s darkest moments. The performances are outstanding and Spielberg’s direction bypasses most of the other work on his resume. It’s a stirring historical drama that reminds me of the power movies have to entertain us, to move us, and inform us. It’s also a reflection on a time that we should never forget and events we should never repeat.

VERDICT – 5 STARS

5 STARSs

5STAR K&M