***** SPOILERS AHEAD *****
This movie was SO GOOD. SO. GOOD. If you haven't seen it, you should. It's amazing. It perfectly captures so many dark and light sides of human nature. It was beautifully tragic and absolutely brilliant.
Visually, it was stunning because the whole movie was done in black and white. It made it feel more real somehow, like it had been filmed during the actual war as opposed to being a modern look-back to it. The only color was in the dress of a little girl when Shindler started to actually see the horror around him and realize what exactly was going on around him.
Basically, the movie followed Shindler, who was in no way sympathetic to the Jews at the beginning. He was a business man that believed that everything had a price. He used the war as a way to provide himself with cheap workers while his assistant (a Jewish man) snuck in people to work who had no experience as metalworkers.
Eventually, you see him begin to change and begin to see the people as people and he begins to feel the loss when he loses or nearly loses workers on several occasions. His full realization of the situation around him comes when he sees that little girl in the red dress again, but this time, she is on a cart filled with the dead.
He befriends a German Captain (or something), a young man who is completely heartless... Almost. After Shindler talks to him about how true power comes when you forgive someone as opposed to shooting them randomly with a sniper rifle from your balcony, you see the young man begin to question his actions and passes forgiveness onto a young Jewish boy who works for him.
The young man then catches his own reflection in the mirror, and you see that he doesn't like what he has become in that moment. He doesn't like the way grace feels. He doesn't like the taste of the kind words that flowed out of his mouth. And so he gets his rifle. As the boy runs, a bullet hits the ground beside him, and then another. And then he falls to the ground.
It is from this young man that Shindler buys over 1,000 Jewish people that he places on a list. These people were intended to go to Auchwitz where they were more than likely going to be killed, but Shindler takes action to save them by bribing the young German officer and getting him to have them all shipped to his factory instead.
The women and young girls somehow end up at Auchwitz anyway, and Shindler rushes to go and rescue them. As they are loaded back onto the trains to return to Shindler's factory, the girls are forcibly removed from their mothers' arms. When Shindler sees this, he rushes over to the men who have them and demand to have them back. You see his fear and rage and them taking them as he shoves the hand of one of the girls in the face of a German officer saying that he needs these hands to polish the inside of the war shells he is making.
At the end, there's a powerful scene at the end of the war, when Shindler has saved all of his Jews, all 1,100 of them. And then as he looks around at all the good he has done, he looks at his car and pulls off a gold pin from his jacket. He begins to lament over these things, saying that he could have bought 10 more with his car, and another with his pin. He begins weeping over this regret that he could have saved more without realizing that he was surrounded by 1,100 people who he DID save.
Many of these people were still alive at the making of this movie, and made an appearance at the end along with the young actors and actresses that portrayed them. It was powerful to see the real people (in color now) who were actually saved by the actions of just one man, returning to his grave to thank him.
Seriously, though. If you haven't seen it, do it.
Here it is on Amazon:
It's also a book!
Random thought after watching this movie: Don't leave this life with regrets. There are two parts to this thought. First of all, it's important to look at your accomplishments and realize that there is a lot that you have done that you can be proud of. The other part is that you should do things to the fullest of your ability so that you don't have to look back and regret. If Shindler had taken time while making that list to think of anything else he could possibly liquidate to add a few people to it, he would not have had that moment of deep regret. While some may say that it was only ten or so more people and how does that compare to 1,100, but at the same time, it would have made a huge difference in the lives of those ten or so. I already have regrets in my own life, and I don't want to look back at the end and have huge regrets. I certainly don't want to look back and say that fear or comfort or money prevented me from saving and/or helping another human being. Human lives are far too important for me to risk because I don't want to be uncomfortable.