Obviously, director Stephen Spielberg’s Oscar-winning “Schindler’s List” is a loving tribute to his Jewish faith and its perseverance throughout history. But another religious thread that runs through the masterpiece is a Christian one found in the character arc of the film’s protagonist, Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson in the role that should’ve won him the Oscar).
When we meet Oskar, he is a serial adulterer, a member of the Nazi Party, and a man willing to exploit (for profit and sex) the slave labor of Jews living in Nazi-occupied Poland. More than that, Schindler cozies up to evil; schmoozes, bribes, and flatters the Nazi SS at the highest levels.
Then, in a very realistic way, Schindler’s humanity slowly awakens. And by the time the credits roll, he has done the most Christian of acts: willingly forsaken his fortune (everything he owns really) and risked his life for others. He also reconciles with his wife.
One of the most remarkable elements in Steven Zallian’s Oscar-winning screenplay is that there is never a “moment” when Schindler wakes up to the evil of his ways; there’s no turning point where he says, “I must save these people, no matter the cost.” It just happens in a deeply moving and profoundly Christian way.
“Schindler’s List” arrives on Bluray for the first time tomorrow. The black and white print is gorgeous and the special features alone are worth the price of the disc. A perfect purchase for this holy season of Lent.