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The Pianist

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Pianist

Starring: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann
Director: Roman Polanski
Rated: R
RunTime: 148 Minutes
Release Date: December 2002
Genres: Drama, War

*Also starring: Emilia Fox, Maureen Lipman, Ed Stoppard, Frank Finlay

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

Roman Polanski's THE PIANIST is an epic length film about Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Jewish pianist who spent most of World War II in hiding in Warsaw. Based on a true story, the movie is essentially a one man movie. Although there are other characters, they serve mainly to give context to Szpilman's plight. As people all about him die like flies, he manages to survive, first as a laborer for the Nazis and, after he escapes, as a hermit hidden by daring Gentiles.

It falls on Adrien Brody's capable shoulders to carry the movie. He gives a careful and precise performance as Szpilman. Known mainly for supporting roles in films that most people have heard of but haven't seen, like THE AFFAIR OF THE NECKLACE and LIBERTY HEIGHTS, Brody is far from an A-list star. His work in THE PIANIST will undoubtedly increase his stature in the acting world and his salary offers. I found his work good, but I think a better actor could have given more gravitas to the part. Brody made me understand his character's torment but more in a clinical way than in an emotional one. Polanski needed just a bit more depth in his protagonist.

The movie chronicles many of the atrocities committed by the Germans against the Jews that you've heard of and probably some that you haven't. Even walking on the sidewalk was forbidden for the Jews, so they had walk through the water in the gutter. Szpilman's entire family was sent off to the concentration camps to be gassed to death. It was a horrible time on earth, and THE PIANIST effectively reminds us of the miseries of that era.

THE PIANIST runs 2:28. It is rated R for "violence and brief strong language" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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