Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Pianist

"The Pianist" (Roman Polanski, 2002): I've been avoiding this like the plague, because when you get home the last thing you want to see is a "holocaust" movie. But since our current Net-flicks choices are "The Pianist" or "The Constant Gardener," its a bit easier to choose which of the two depressions you want to take on. We went with "Pianist," and I regret putting it off. Yes, it's about the Warsaw Ghetto. But it's also a terrific adventure/survival movie about a man used to the rarefied world of the arts being forced to make life and death choices in order to survive. That its a true story (about pianist Władysław Szpilman) makes it even more remarkable and a testament to one's will to live. But its also one of Roman Polanski's best films--a straight ahead artful telling of the tale without blandishments or Polanski's usual tendency to throw in some frivolous garbage that devalues the piece. Adrien Brody is simply amazing in it (but "Man Alone" movies tend to bring out the best in actors--anyone remember Dr. Hang S. Noor in "The Killing Fields?"), slowly losing the detached look in his eyes as his situation worsens and worsens. One can't help but flash on current events and how a populace can be fooled into thinking "But they wouldn't dare...." Give someone enough power, and they'll dare anything. With enough power, who's going to stop them? Well worth seeing so don't be scared by it.

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