Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade.
In this adaptation of the autobiography "The Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945," Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish Jewish radio station pianist, sees Warsaw change gradually as World War II begins. Szpilman is forced into the Warsaw Ghetto, but is later separated from his family during Operation Reinhard. From this time until the concentration camp prisoners are released, Szpilman hides in various locations among the ruins of Warsaw. Written by
terrific movie, if relentlessly gritty and realistic
I remember seeing "Schindler's list" about ten years ago, and I remember how weird I felt for being almost completely unmoved by it. Although it showed the horrors of holocaust quite realistically, somehow it all seemed just a bit too fake and exaggerated. Characters were a bit off (I still can't decide who was more over the top, Schindler or Goeth), fake sentimentalism was all over the place, . While it was a work of art and an important reminder of true events that shouldn't be forgotten, on emotional level it just somehow failed to deliver.
Enter "The Pianist". With no Spielberg around to put his trademark sappy material, we finally have a movie that shows the true horror and tragedy of Jewish people in World War II. The story is told through the eyes of one man - Wladislaw Szpielman, Jewish pianist who works in a radio station in Warsaw during the German occupation of Poland. Together with him we watch his world getting torn apart, witness his family being taken away, his existence being reduced to bare essentials. Brody gives a subtle yet spectacular performance, his best work yet. And never once are we reminded that we are watching a movie. Everything is shown from Szpielman's point of view, and it is all very gritty and realistic. While Spielberg's rendition of German atrocities always had a slightly staged feel to augment their dramatic purpose, here they are so true to life there impact is much greater - you watch and are being reminded in horror that this things actually happened.
While being very hard to watch sometimes, this is a movie that "Schindler's List" was supposed to be. This movie doesn't judge anybody, or tries to explain anything - it shows historical events as a reflection of one man's fate, making a powerful testimony that stays with you long after the beautiful last shot and the end credits are over.
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