Janusz Kaminski’s grittily atmospheric, Oscar-winning cinematography has never looked more effectively nourish, and John Williams’ Academy-honored score has never sounded more dramatically sonorous, outside of a state-of-the-art studio screening room.
All is perfect for reliving screenwriter Steven Zaillian’s powerfully moving adaptation of Thomas Keneally’s book about enigmatic Catholic war profiteer Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson at his career-best), who curried the favor of the Nazis to gain lucrative contracts, then saved the lives of more than 1,100 Polish Jews by employing them in his factory, manufacturing crockery for the German army.
Ben Kingsley gives an irresistibly sympathetic, award-worthy performance as Schindler’s Jewish accountant – and conscience - and Ralph Fiennes does his breakthrough turn as the frighteningly coldblooded German commandant that Schindler must pretend to befriend in order to keep his Jewish charges safe from extermination.
Full of crushing heartbreak, horror and exhilarating triumph, this is easily Spielberg’s finest film, richly deserving of its seven Oscars, which also included best picture, director, adapted screenplay and editing. The three-disc 20th anniversary edition also includes a DVD version of the film, digital and Ultraviolet copies, plus “Voices from the List,” a documentary with testimonies and archival footage, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film with Spielberg.
— Gene Triplett