Thursday, January 26, 2006
Thoughts on 'The Pianist'
I finally rented The Pianist thanks to Netflix. I had some reservations about sitting through it despite the fact that I heard great things and I enjoy good period films. The first major reason was more an ethical one having to do with avoiding stuff by Roman Polanski, who I personally think should be in prison.
That issue aside, Adrien Brody did a very good job acting. During the last half of the movie, Brody's role became almost a silent movie role as there was very little dialogue. He won an Oscar for the role, and I think he deserved it.
I mainly put off seeing it for two reasons. One was that Holocaust movies are always emotionally draining and in some cases straight out emotionally manipulative. I, also, always fear a few things going into World War II movies, Holocaust themes especially, as movies are out to make money. I think making money off the brutality of the Holocaust is just wrong. Likewise, I fear that if I somehow say something against the movie, I come off as petty by demeaning the horrible event that the movie is portraying.
This movie was not quite as draining as, say, Schindler's List, but The Pianist had some shockingly graphic scenes of German brutality. I sometimes wonder if Hollywood keeps doing movies like this just to see how far they can push graphic violence and still feel snobbish enough to label it a 'film.' I think The Pianist did a good job of not going overboard in that regard. The film did get an 'R' rating for good reason. This is not a movie you would particularly rent for a date and popcorn.
While impressive in the field of cinematography, there are just so many scenes a person can sit through of Brody living in isolation or wandering about aimlessly in the midst of a war zone before the scenes start blurring together and getting redundant. I thought that the movie did go on a bit too long on that count. I have never quite grasped why Hollywood can no longer seem to make a quality film under 2 hours in length (Lord of the Rings being the exception to that). The only reason I can figure is that since we are paying so much to see films, they expect we want our money's worth.
Just on the strength of the acting, I am going to give it a 4 and half. Had the movie been somewhat more brief and the ending a bit more poignant, it could have been a five.