167. The Pianist (2002)

Film 71 in C4 Top 100 War Films

I wasn’t looking forward to this much, as my housemate had spent the last year ranting about it, since he accidentally mistook it for The Piano.

But right from the outset, the film looked exceptionally good – the cast in particular were excellent and the opening scenes seemed to set the tone for a thoughtful, intelligent film.

Wladyslaw Szpilman is a respected Jewish concert pianist living in Nazi-occupied Warsaw. As time goes by, him and his family are firstly moved to the ghetto, and bullied by the local Nazi thugs, before being prepared for transportation to a concentration camp. Due to his professional connections, he is given the opportunity to escape, but with his life in the hands of others, he discovers that being hidden away and dependent on friends of friends is the least of his worries, as he battles starvation and neglect.

A superb film, it’s beautifully shot, emotional (but without becoming schmaltzy), gripping and harrowing.

8/10

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