Home > Film Reviews > The Pianist, Film Review

The Pianist, Film Review

Watching a film about the Holocaust is never easy, and I for one always go into watching such films with guarded emotions of what I’m about to watch. All the atrocities and suffering the Jews lived through in the 1940’s is unimaginable compared to living in today’s society, and can be upsetting and disturbing to watch (rightly so of course).

That said, I enjoyed watching the Pianist and was impressed with how well made the film is. I also felt like I had learnt something about history after watching it. The film has the overall feel of an expertly crafted and detailed piece of work, being both visually stunning to watch (some of the sets such as the levelled Warsaw are fantastic) and also giving a really believable impression of what it must have been like to live as a Jew during the Nazi occupation of Poland.

Told through the eyes of a professional piano player Szpilman, it starts with his life before occupation and it’s decent into chaos over the coming years. With great detail it shows what how the Jews were gradually separated from the rest of the population before being moved to the large and small Jewish ghettos. It then depicts what daily life in the ghettos was like, where occupants face hunger, persecution and the ever present fear of death or torture by the SS. Finally Szpilman is living alone in the ruins of Warsaw after escaping deportation and living in various hiding places provided by Jewish sympathisers.

It’s these situations that are told with such attention to detail that really make the film. Real-life events such as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Warsaw Uprising are also included. There’s also accurate references to real life figures such as the hateful figure Josef Blösche, a specialist for finding remaining, hidden Jews, and who executed about 2000 for no reason and with no mercy, including pregnant women and infants. Two scenes resemble Blösche’s typical actions as witnessed by victims or former SS comrades – both are chilling to watch and show how inhumanely his victims were treated.

Adrien Brody as the lead character gives a good performance and plays Szpilman for the humble man he really was. His acting is understated in some scenes but it must have been what the Director Roman Polanski wanted. Overall The Pianist is a fascinating film and one i’d recommend as a must see film.

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