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The Pianist
3 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Roman Polanski

Cast:
Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Maureen Lipman, Emilia Fox, Wanja Mues, Richard Ridings, Ed Stoppard, Ed Stoppard, Julia Rayner, Jessica Kate Meyer, Michal Zebrowski

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The Pianist (2002)
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Movie Review by Charity
September 9th, 2007

Better Writing Would Help

The Pianist is based on the true story of Wladyslaw Szpilman, an accomplished pianist and a Jew in WWII-era Poland. The story tells of Szpilman's survival of war and Holocaust in the Warsaw ghetto. The narrative follows history inside Warsaw, starting with the relocation of Jews to certain sectors, the building of walls around the Ghetto, shipping out most Jews to extermination camps, Szpilman's time in Jewish work crews, his escape from the Ghetto just before the Jewish uprising, some unlikely help from a German officer, and his survival in the last days before the Soviet army liberated Warsaw from the Germans.

Two big weaknesses in this film made it just tolerable. First, there was not enough exposition in the start to get the audience's buy-in to care about what happens to Szpilman and his family. I never felt any connection to Szpilman and, while I never doubted that he would survive the story, I didn't really care about his plight, even at its worst. I suspect that the beginning of the storyline was streamlined in the interest of time, because this was a long film.

Second, I screenwriter seemed to rely solely on the emotional content inherent in the horrific treatment of Jews by the Germans and the non-Jewish civilian population. There was no added dimension of emotional connection to the events, characters, or any other aspect of the story. It's like the anger and horror the audience is supposed to (rightly) feel at the events themselves was supposed to be enough. It's not, unless perhaps an audience member had no prior exposure to films or museums or stories about Holocaust victims/survivors.

All in all, this is worth a view, but not nearly as good as viewing Schindler's List, reading The Diary of Anne Franke, or a trip to the Holocaust Museum in DC.

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Lisa
Sep 9, 2007 12:59 PM
 
I adored this movie and thought Brody was excellent.



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