|Film Brats - Reviews|
One of the things that appealed to me most was the incredible way it was shot. Director Roman Polanski and his cinematographer Pawel Edelman work together to create a muted palette that dulls and livens the visuals at the same time. Even though the story follows Szpilman (played by Adrien Brody) virtually exclusively, there is an overwhelming sense of voyeurism. I couldn’t help but feel I was intruding into his life, despite the fact that the majority of the film is shown from his perspective (of course I don’t mean first person camera work). The audience is as enclosed and as trapped as Szpilman.
We want to reach out and help him. Give him some of the popcorn and candy we eat while we watch him scrounging for food. Invite him to sleep on the couch we observe him from. Yet, while we enjoy the luxuries of our daily life, we can at least begin or pretend to empathize with him, and we can surely applaud the courage required to overcome that unspeakable time.
A lot of credit is due to the actors. Brody is astounding. He not only played a couple of complex songs on the piano, he also played a complex set of emotions: both to near perfection. I never had to question any character’s motivation. All that is required is to look at the actor’s face and all would be understood perfectly. Even the thousands of extras stood out to me as giving great performances. The deaths were not stagy. They were gritty, understated and very effective.
If you don’t know that the film is based on Szpilman’s actual story (his book was adapted by screenwriter Ronald Harwood), it may be tough to believe some of the events. A couple of the situations seemed to be a little too convenient and hard to swallow. However, assuming that the movie is essentially true to life, it makes his harrowing story that much more incredible.
No one my age could ever possibly truly begin to understand what living in a time such as that was like for someone of any nationality, let alone the amazing struggles the European Jewish people had to endure. “The Pianist” is a remarkable piece of work that touches your heart and soul. It’s a film that makes it that much easier to know why what happened then should never have to happen again.
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