Schindlerís ListA CRITICAL ANALYSIS In 1993, the greatest filmmaker of our time did exactly what we expected, and then he turned around and surprised us. That year, for the third time in his career, Steven Spielberg broke the record for the highest-grossing film of all time. Big, grand, and exciting, with dynamite special effects, Jurassic Park was a typical Spielberg film. But while Jurassic Park was breaking records, we heard that Spielberg was in Europe filming, of all things, a black-and-white Holocaust drama. This came as a surprise, but it could never have prepared us for the experience of Schindler\'s List. And what an experience it is. It\'s not just another day at the movies, another piece of escapist fare. It is entertaining to be sure, but it is much more than that. It is gut-wrenching, emotional, and visionary. Sitting in the theater, I knew this was something special, a film and an experience I would never forget. Schindler\'s List is the true story of Oskar Schindler, an undeniably flawed man. A native German, he relocated to Cracow, Poland after it fell into German hands so he could capitalize on Jewish labor at slave wages. There he established an enamelware factory and made obscene amounts of money while wining, dining, and bribing Nazi officials to get his way. But while Schindler was profiting from the Jews\' work, he was disgusted by the way the they were treated. He underwent an important change, slowly realizing that this was wrong and that he could do something about it. He began to use his money and influence to bring more Jews to his factory, a haven where they were not beaten or killed. By the end of World War II, Schindler\'s list of Jews to be saved had grown to over 1,000, and he had spent his entire fortune to buy their lives from the Nazis. To put it quite simply, the acting in Schindler\'s List is perfect. There is a literal cast of thousands, and all of them seem to fit so perfectly into their roles that we forget they are acting. The three main actors in particular capture the personality and motivation that drive their respective characters. Long after the specific lines Liam Neeson speaks as Oskar Schindler are forgotten, the voice remains. Haunting and revealing, it lies at the center of his performance. Neeson is convincing at the beginning of the film as the scrupulous war profiteer, and stunningly, subtlely, transforms into the Christlike figure at the end. Ben Kingsley gives an impressively understated performance as Itzhak Stern, Schindler\'s Jewish accountant and conscience. And Ralph Fiennes is just plain scary as Amon Goeth, the Nazi commandant who starts each morning with target practice aimed at unsuspecting Jews. In one brilliantly-conceived scene, Fiennes is forced to recognize the humanity Jews. He begins to fall in love with his Jewish maid (Embeth Davidtz), but after forcing himself on her and nearly committing the capital crime of kissing her, he remembers that he is supposed to hate her, and beats her for seducing him. Schindler\'s List is not only well-acted, but technically superior. Janusz Kaminski\'s thoughtful black-and-white cinematography helps evoke the time and places portrayed. Michael Kahn\'s editing makes the movie move at lightning speed, so that by the time its three-plus hours are over we scarcely realize how long we have been watching. And John Williams\' poetic score -- combined with judicious use of other music, including Billie Holliday, Mozart, and traditional Jewish songs -- adds layers of meaning to the story. But as good as they are, it is not the acting, the camera work, or the music that makes Schindler\'s List so special. It is the meaning and love that Steven Spoelberg puts into every frame. Among the many masterful scenes in the film, one in particular deserves special mention: the razing of Cracow\'s Jewish ghetto, where our attention is drawn to a little girl in a red coat. The scene embodies the savagery of the Holocaust and the humanity of its victims, and it is the single most riveting sequence I have ever seen in a motion picture. Although this film doesn\'t really feel Spielbergian, it is not entirely dissimilar to his previous work. Like his other films, Schindler\'s List portrays a