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The Pianist


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No, it's not better than schindler's list. I dont know who started all that nonsense in the media, but lets just get that out of the way, not schindler's list. Apples and oranges anyways. It is a fuckin great movie though. It's directed by Roman Polanski, a holocaust survivor, and the director of such cool ones as Tess, Rosemary's Baby, Frantic, and the brilliant Chinatown and based on a true biography. The story centers around a Jewish Pianist for Warsaw radio while the nazis occupy Poland. The story is told entirely through his eyes as he goes through the Nazi's taking away Jew rights, then moving them into ghettos, and trying to get them into concentration camps and all that.

 

Everything here is top notch. Adrien Brody gives an Oscar-worthy performance as the shriveling title character. He carries the movie, as it's not shot very stylishly and he's in damned near every frame of it. The supporting cast is good, especially the random extras toiling, suffering, and dying in the streets. Very affecting stuff.

 

The direction is rock solid. This is Polanski's comeback film and he knocked it out of the park. It's shot very straightforward. No fancy narration, no flashbacks, no slo-mo. It's also very subjective. Most of the violence is seen from a little far away and usually above, since he's looking out his window. You dont really see any closeups unless it's the main character or somebody he''s right next to. A bit sterile some might say, but a good contrast from most people, who would push for emotion and do lots of closeups and slo-mo and stuff. Sometimes its more harsh when you see it from far away, as you would in real life, great approach.

 

So, great movie. Reminded me a bit of the comic book "Maus"... which was great book btw. Oh, and the location was perfect. They shot it all in Poland and it was amazing. Dozens of moments and images that stick in your head. You can really tell that Roman Polanski went through all of this stuff, cause there's lots of stuff that you wouldn't think about unless you actually saw it, like the suitcases left in a ghetto after everyone has been relocated. I also read that Polanski actually told some extras how to fall when they died when he recreated some of his experiances. I want to see a good "making of" of this one for sure.

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