Liam Neeson is Oskar Schindler, ladies man with an eye for the main chance. He makes afortune in German-occupied Warsaw, staffing his factory with the cut-rate labour provided bythe Jews. As the Nazi persecution of the Jews becomes more and more murderous, Schindler’sconscience is awakened, and he eventually becomes intent not on making money through cheaplabour, but in saving the lives of his employees.
Shot in black and white, with the disturbing exception of a li…tle girl’s red coat,Schindler’s List is one of Spielberg’s most visually striking films. Its sense of ever-expanding nightmare is something to behold, and the experience is an exhausting one. Spielbergdoes make one fatal misstep, pulling his punches and letting the audience off the hook incrucially dishonest sequence, when showers in a death camp turn out to really be showers afterall. That kind of fake scare might be fun in Jaws or Jurassic Park, but is out ofplace and trivializing here. That said, in almost every other respect, the film is a remarkableachievement.
The sound is in both 5.1 and DTS, and though it is extremely crisp and clean, it lacks thepower of the film’s theatrical release. There, the volume and enveloping nature of the soundtrackplunged the audience straight into hell. Here, the sound is concentrated in the front speakers (thisis true even of John William’s score), and the impact is thus considerably diluted from what itcould have been. The disc also forbids changing audio tracks in mid-stream.
No quibbles with the picture, however. The black-and-white photography is ultra-sharp, withevery horrific detail mercilessly capture. The picture is grainy, but this is an (effective) artistic,cinematographic choice, and not a flaw in either the print or the transfer. There is no edgeenhancement visible, and the blacks are perfect. An extremely handsome image all around.
A rather sparse selection of extras, given the importance of the film. All the extras are onSide B of the disc, and the principle feature is a 77 minute documentary: “Voices from the List.”Here are interviews with some of those who survived the Holocaust thanks to Schindler, and theyprovide their memories of both the horrors of that time and of the man who saved them. “TheShoah Foundation Story” is a short featurette explaining how this Holocaust memory projectcame to be, and what its goals are. As for extras related to the film itself, all you have are castand crew bios and filmographies, and a print bio of Schindler. The menu’s main page and introare animated and scored, while the second level screens are scored.
Gorgeous picture, fine film, but disappointing sound and extras.
Special Features List
- “Voices from the List” Documentary
- “The Shoah Foundation Story” Featurette
- Cast and Crew Bios and Filmographies
- Oskar Schindler Biography