Podcast: 1st Year Napier Journalism on the Entertainment News of the Weekend

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Schindler’s List Review

After his colossal success with hit movie “Jurassic Park” in 1993, Steven Spielberg continued his sensational year with the release of “Schindler’s List”, a prevailing tribute to the horrific treatment of the Jewish people throughout the Second World War, rightfully saw him win seven Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director.

Through Spielberg’s dramatic filming in black and white, in addition to the adding of colour to a young girl’s coat, the ghastly treatment of millions of innocent people, who were merely used as a scapegoat, allows the revulsion of the holocaust to be laid bare.

Oskar Schindler, played brilliantly by Liam Neeson, is a German businessman who captures the audience’s heart from the moment he appears on screen. The film follows his story as we see him make the transition from a striking, charismatic and promiscuous man, to the self-effacing saviour of over a thousand Jewish people, who wishes he could have saved more.

We are lured into a state of suspense which remains with us throughout the entire film, as we are left watching anxiously as Schindler attempts to save over a thousand Jews from their fate within concentration camps. Through the bribery of Nazi officials and his manipulative friendship with the malevolent camp commandant, Goeth, he moves them out of the camps and gives them jobs in factories, saving the lives of so many.

Spielberg’s clever juxtaposition of Schindler and Goeth, played superbly by Ralph Fiennes, portrays them as being two sides of the same coin. Schindler plays on the fact that they both enjoy the finer things in life, as they are strongly influenced by beautiful women and money. Schindler uses their connection to show Goeth that power is not achieved by injecting the fear of death into people’s lives before taking them, but power is in fact better served by having the ability and freedom to take a person’s life, and resisting. Goeth concedes this idea, but it is clear that he would not adhere to it for long.

Spielberg concludes the film with a formidable image. Set in the present day, Spielberg shows the real Schindler survivors and their decedents visiting his grave. This reinforces to us that this is the true story of one mans gallantry, and that “Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.”

Lawless film review.

 

Lawless is set in 1931 towards the ending days of the Virginian Prohibition and is based on the real life story of the three troublesome Bondurant brothers. With starring roles played by Shia LeBeouf, Tom Hardy and Guy Pearce the instant appeal for the film is intact.

 In 2005 John Hillcoat’s and Nick Cave’s release of western The Proposition struck audiences as visually impacting through its violent aesthetics and infliction of fear however, Lawless does not. The film moves slowly through the struggles between the Bondurant trio and bad guy cop Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) as long sections of the film lack excitement and short outbursts of visceral violence is used in others to make an impact on the audience, or at least attempt to.

 Reserved tough man Forrest Bondurant is a well-acted role played by Tom Hardy and is the centre of the extraneous violence. Jessica Chastain plays a tough but vulnerable woman who works in the diner as a front to the illegal and corrupted business ran by the Bondurant brothers. The romance that sparks between her and Forrest is the sole reason to why the audience find his violent actions both acceptable and justifiable and concludes in the audience routing for him against enemy Charlie Rakes.

Jack Bondurant played by Shia LaBeouf is a weak and nervy character determined to step up into the frontline business but is constantly belittled by his two older brothers Forrest and Howard (Jason Clarke); the more traditional hill-billy type. This alongside his secret romance with the beautiful Bertha Minnix, (Mia Wasikowska) the Priest’s daughter makes the audience sympathize with him, as well as making bad guy cop Charlie Rakes even more despicable than his thinning hairline. The pure hatred for this character arises in a dragged-out sequence of extreme violence and fist fury towards weak younger sibling Jack; the only scene in which the violence truly has an appropriate hard-hitting impact.

The film is a well-acted piece and in whole fairly entertaining, but the perpetual gore and violence is its downfall as it distracts from the plot and becomes the dominant focus of the film. John Hillcoat’s The Road is far more impacting as the emotion created is intense and the suspense is ever-present, whereas Lawless lacks creativity and ultimately becomes a show down to who has the biggest pair of balls, that said the acting is flawless and the characters intriguing.

Joe Gawne.