I dare not suggest that Schindler’s List isn’t a perfect film, for fear of being labeled insensitive. Fortunately, it’s absolutely one of the greatest films ever made, because unfortunately, it’s horrible and I fucking hate it.
Schindler’s List is made up of about 40% handheld camera shots. On top of everything else, why do I need to feel like I’m in the concentration camps? It’s unbearable enough seeing that little girl in the red coat get exhumed to be burned, but I’ve got to be shoulder-to-shoulder with Ralph Fiennes? Fuck that.
On top of John Williams’ superb score, the girl in the red coat is, perhaps, the most powerful tool Spielberg’s got in his Schindler’s List emotional arsenal. She’s just another faceless character without an identity – a plaything for the Nazis. To begin with, it’s like Spielberg’s saying, “See this girl? The Nazis are going to do something really fucked up to her.”
But her uniqueness is that she’s infinitely more tangible than any other character. In a film made up of hunting, shooting, and punishing, she makes it all real again just when we might be becoming desensitised out of disbelief. Even if I had been thick-skinned enough to zone out by that point in the movie, that would have brought me right back.
This film truly is exhausting. It’s taken me the whole day just to think of how best to review it, but I’ve settled on: Belongs at number seven… But I wish it didn’t.