REVIEW: The Pianist

My curiosity was instantly aroused when reading about The Pianist especially the fact it is a bio-pic set during World War II and is like another Holocaust film after Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece Schindler’s List. When you watch it, you are literally on the journey with Szpilman and you yourself feel like a victim who are suffering almost the same as the Jews within the film. In the majority of bio-pics, there are scenes where we see evil and ugliness between people especially in this one the ugliness and cold-hearted attitudes of Nazi Germany towards the Jews. However, on the bright side, we also see the good in the world and how Szpilman hung on the best way he could to survive.

The Pianist really could have turned out a great disappointment seeing as it is a true story set in Warsaw, Poland about Polish and German people and the fact that the majority of the film is spoken in the English language and still speaking in their normal accents but thankfully, there was some German language used. Plus, the way it was filmed, the pacing of it was it was precise and the very strong and powerful script still made it an absolutely outstanding film to watch.

Okay, first thoughts on the brink of The Pianist‘s release were ”Who is Adrien Brody?” but even now after earning the Academy Award for Best Leading Actor for his outstanding performance as Wladyslaw Szpilman and appearing in the King Kong remake by Peter Jackson and inPredator‘s second sequel Predators, he still remains one of the most underrated actors of our time. I think that almost the exact same thing could be said for Roberto Benigni for his role and Academy Award Best Leading Actor win in Life Is Beautiful. Anyway, Brody’s role as Szpilman doesn’t only demonstrate the heartbreak that the Jews felt during the Holocaust but also the sign of faith and courage of those Jews who survived and aside from the Jews, Brody as Szpilman and especially the late Wladyslaw Szpilman himself expressed the beauty, bravery, inspiration and a sign of hope in the world that was such a dark time. Also, Brody’s dedication to the film was an inspiration especially the fact that he had to lose quite a bit of weight due to Szpilman slowly starving in the ruins of Warsaw during World War II.

You know what the strange but ironic thing is? It is that there aren’t that many characters in the film that we go great depth into and that the main characters are a Jew and a Nazi who was really a good man at heart despite his occupation and duty to his country. Thomas Kretschmann’s performance as Captain Wilm Hosenfeld (later revealed in the ending credits and if you read into the story) was fantastic! Despite that the film is, in fact, mostly in the English language, I am very glad that even in both of their scenes together, there is spoken German language in it. Hosenfeld mainly showed us that, sure most Nazi’s were racist and cold-hearted killers but Hosenfeld showed that there were perhaps a few who were good at heart. Another example, Oskar Schindler! He saved all of those Jews and still being friends with Nazi officers at the same time while doing so. It perhaps is unusual knowing that a Nazi helped a Jew during World War II but as I said, despite the fact that are still some sick people out there but there are a lot of good people out there.

Despite the man had a troubled personal life back in the 70s, Roman Palonski is still a great and hugely underrated director! Polanski as a boy grew up in Poland watching while the Nazis devastated his country during World War II, directed this downbeat drama based on the true story of a privileged musician who spent five years struggling against the Nazi occupation of Warsaw. His work on The Pianist was perhaps a gamble for both his career and for the film itself despite what he witnessed as a child and the great book and true story by Wladyslaw Szpilman seeing as it is a Polish book about a Polish man during World War II. However, he has crafted a film that isn’t just something genuinely heartfelt and inspiring but the fact that it pretty much involves one guy, it is a suspenseful thriller at the same time and Polanski is a great director of thrillers (which he saw from him in Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby). As for the script, Ronald Harwood could have written a disaster script and a Polish/German screenwriter could have written it even better but he proved that only he could have pulled it off at the very highest standard especially his win for his Academy Award win for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Overall, The Pianist is a beautifully heartbreaking story that had back in the 40s and still has now a sign of hope in the world that we thought we had lost. The Pianist is an extremely underrated film despite its Academy Award wins and nominations (including a Best Picture nomination but shockingly lost to Chicago), but nevertheless it certainly rises up to the landmark standard of Steven Spielberg’s World War II masterpiece Schindler’s List or maybe even surpasses it.


~ by SJMJ91 on 18/05/2012.

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