"The true story of Wladyslaw Szpilman who, in the 1930s, was known as the most accomplished piano player in all of Poland, if not Europe. At the outbreak of the Second World War, however, Szpilman becomes subject to the anti-Jewish laws imposed by the conquering Germans. By the start of the 1940s, Szpilman has seen his world go from piano concert halls to the Jewish Ghetto of Warsaw and then must suffer the tragedy of his family deported to a death camp, while Szpilman is conscripted into a forced German Labor Compound. At last deciding to escape, Szpilman goes into hiding as a Jewish refugee where he is witness to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Warsaw City Revolt in 1945." (Anthony Hughes for IMDB)
With Oscars for Best Achievement in Directing, Best performance of an Actor in a Leading Role, Best Writing, and Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published. BAFTAs for Best Film and Award for Direction. A Palm D'Or from the Cannes Film Festival, and The Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by A Male Actor in a Leading Role, it's easy to see where the critics and the industry lie on this film. From these citations alone it could be called the best film of 2002, but we all know that what the awards say and how much we enjoy a film aren't often carbon copies. That having been said, I have to tell you that this is quite an amazing film.
At first I avoided going to the cinema to watch it, on account of expecting it to not differ very much from all the other Holocaust movies out there. Don't get me wrong, I thought films like Schindler's List were absolutely fantastic, but I really couldn't see how you could try to tell basically the same story again, and get anything more out of it.
And to be fair, there is one main reason that this film manages to separate out above the rest and that is Adrien Brody. Every award that that man received for the performance, he thoroughly earned. Having done a little film making myself in the past, my usual feeling is that, as long as there's a good Director and Crew behind a film, the actors and actresses just act as screen candy. In that respect, this film blew me away. Brody delivers a powerful performance that draws you into his struggle. He has an amazing on screen presence that he abuses to the best of his abilities, leaving you simply in awe.
This film is a must, and I mean that. Anyone who's got a season ticket and doesn't come see this film, better have a damned good excuse, or I'm coming after them.
Rotten Tomatoes Score:
English, German, Russian
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