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Purchase The Pianist (2002) Movie Online and Download - Roman Polanski 🎥
UK, Germany, France, Poland
Drama, Biography, History, War
IMDB rating:
Roman Polanski
Adrien Brody as Wladyslaw Szpilman
Thomas Kretschmann as Captain Wilm Hosenfeld
Frank Finlay as Father
Maureen Lipman as Mother
Emilia Fox as Dorota
Ed Stoppard as Henryk
Julia Rayner as Regina
Wanja Mues as SS Slapping Father
Richard Ridings as Mr. Lipa
Nomi Sharron as Feather Woman
Anthony Milner as Man Waiting to Cross
Lucy Skeaping as Street Musician
Roddy Skeaping as Street Musician
Ben Harlan as Street Musician
Storyline: A brilliant pianist, a Polish Jew, witnesses the restrictions Nazis place on Jews in the Polish capital, from restricted access to the building of the Warsaw ghetto. As his family is rounded up to be shipped off to the Nazi labor camps, he escapes deportation and eludes capture by living in the ruins of Warsaw.
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Brilliantly Narrated, Visually Stunning!
Polanski has depicted the gory details of the holocaust without much restraint. But, the most wonderful aspect of the film is that the director has not lost focus of his story and instead of focusing too much on the holocaust horror he has weaved the true-life narrative of survival around devillish happenings.

Every single act of escapade Szpilman goes through is depicted like a drop of water on a barren desert. However, the Oasis in the driest desert comes in the end and it is here that Polanski captures the essence of human emotion. I had this very strong urge of jumping into the theater screen and magically adopting a character in the movie and doing something about the helplesness portrayed so convincingly.

Overall, Polanski has given a stunning visual narrative of the cold war. Survival indeed is a privilege though it is taken for granted today. Performances by Brody, Kretschmann deserve applause.

Pawel Edelman's camera work is moving and he has brilliantly captured the dark sadness in the visual canvas in an effective way. The lighting is amazing. Pre-dawn shooting schedule could have helped a great deal.

Hervé de Luze's editing work has ensured that the narrative does not slip away from focus. Most notable is the scene where the human bodies are lit on fire and the camera raises to show the smoke. The darkness of the smoke is enhanced and is used effectively to fade the scene out.

The scene where Brody's fingers move as he rests his hands on the bars of the tram handle only goes to show the brilliance of Polanski as a film-maker.

Great film that will be in the running for this year's Oscars. I will give it a 9 Out of 10.
Wonderful and Terrible. SPOILER WARNING
Roman Polanski's new movie, "The Pianist" is a truly gripping, devastating, heart-felt, unsentimental piece of work. I urge you, if you have not seen it already, to do so before you read anything more about it (including this review). You need to come to the film cold, as it were, knowing as little as possible in advance, so that its effect will be as powerful as possible. This is what I did. I sat in the cinema, chatting quietly during the ads and trailers, preparing myself mentally for what I expected to be a reasonably harrowing but ultimately uplifting experience. The film began. My initial reaction upon seeing Maureen Lipman and Frank Finlay was a slight smirk and a minor panic: Oh God, brit thesps over-doing it. Nothing is more horrifying than the sight of Brit thesps over-doing it. Or so I thought. Because shortly after this panic there was more to concern me. Firstly, the Brit thesps were not over-doing it at all. They were instead giving subtle, measured, moving performances. How bizarre. Secondly, about ten minutes into the film, a gang of nazis stroll into an apartment and casually drop a man from his wheelchair out over the balcony and onto the street below. This is all shown from the point of view of our heroes in the apartment opposite. It all takes place in one long, agonising, heart-stopping take. The entire cinema gasps in horror. All of a sudden we realise just how grim and unflinching this film is going to be. From then on, things get worse (if that is at all possible) with horror piled upon horror in the most matter-of-fact way. Bodies lie in the street. Citizens of the ghetto bicker with each other over scraps of food, spill the food and then lick it up off the floor in desperation. Nazi thugs (as opposed to all the nazi non-thugs...) force Jews to dance, shoot them in the head whenever they feel like it, drive over their dead bodies, etc. etc. Then, as The Pianist's family is locked into the train carriage never to be seen again (the door slamming shut on their screams) he is alone in this insane world, suddenly forced to survive. He is not a good or bad person. He is certainly not a hero. If anything he is rather selfish and introverted. Which only makes this film more realistic and moving. We find ourselves imagining what it would be like to be in his situation. What would we do? There is no point mourning the loss of loved ones. That won't help anyone. Nor is there any point fighting. The Warsaw uprising begins (the fight scenes here are startlingly believable) and then ends in a rout by the nazis. The Pianist watches from his hiding place several storeys above the city. He is a detached observer rather than a participant. He is, perhaps, even a coward, running away from, rather than confronting the enemy. While working on the building gang he does get involved in helping the resistance, but escapes before the fighting begins. All the time we think: what would I do? We would probably do the same: Hide, run, survive. Defiantly avoiding sentimentality at all points, Polanski is in full command of his material here. Adrien Brody as our "hero" is superb. His transformation from elegant, attractive man about town to shivering, starving, desperate wreck is an amazing performance. Towards the end, as he hangs on to his tin of what? Some sort of fruit? with pathetic determination, he is a terrible vision of a man reduced to almost nothing. But still there is the spark in his eyes, and of course, as luck would have it, there is a piano. Which is what saves him. And there is a coat, which almost gets him killed. "Why the fucking coat?" "Because I'm cold." Note, by the way, that the line is not, "Because I'm f***ing cold" which would have been a nice gag, but fake. "Because I'm cold" is achingly sad and small and true. Like I said, Polanski and his screen-writer (the inestimable Ronald Harwood) are in full command of their material. There is not a single false move, not a single mistake. The film is beautiful and cold and terrible and sad and genuinely great. Unlike that other holocaust movie to which it will no doubt be compared, "Schindler's List", this is not at Oscar-Machine, but a moving and honest portrayal of human cruelty and desperation. It is also, in case you haven't worked it out already, a masterpiece.
It's like Schindler's List only I care
I don't go as far as saying holocaust movies are vanity projects of directors showing that they too can make an epic.But where Spielberg's "Schindler's List" was somewhere way in the distance and ages ago,"The Pianist" puts you in the action with the old trick of having a main character you care about.Bit by piece we get to see the downfall of the Jewish community in well,everywhere.Originally they just get discriminated and won't get to do anything to be anywhere,but are still members of society who usually don't get killed.Then it gets ugly.The ghettos,the incredible lack of everything,the random executions,I knew they existed but never have they seemed so sincere on behalf of the makers.What to say about an old man eating what appears to be liquid corn straight of the road?Eventually we learn yet again that the holocaust in fact,really made no sense.We're talking about Western Europe here,and it isn't even a long time ago.People were somewhat educated,thought for themselves when the Gestapo wasn't watching,and still most of them just went along with this crap.I was fearing a "Night Of The Living Dead"-style ending,but this is based on an autobiography so that would have been impossible.Five years of hate packed in about two hours,and it works.
Honest Portrayal Of Szpilman's Complex and Horrible Situation
Danger: Spoilers Ahead

I had an opportunity to see The Pianist this weekend, and I must say, I thought it was excellent - more so than I had expected, and I generally appreciate both Adrien Brody (who plays Wladyslaw Szpilman) and Roman Polanski.

I've seen pretty much every WWII and Holocaust film ever made or subtitled in English, and The Pianist is quite possibly the best (in my mind better than my previous 3 favorites of this genre: Europa Europa, Life is Beautiful, and Schindler's List). Have read pretty much every book on the subject I can find, also, I can say that The Pianist also strikes me as the most balanced and realistic portrayal of the situation - and indeed this may be a problem for some people. (Like Schindler's List and Europa Europa, The Pianist is based on a true story - and I think it conveys this story more convincingly than either of those films).

What I think makes the Pianist such an excellent film is that it accepts the moral ambiguity of people on both sides, and makes obvious the fact that opportunism as much as ideology played a part in the actions of individuals on both sides. One "villian" in the form of the Jewish Police officer also plays a beneficial part in the life of Szpilman. The unexpected hero in the form of the sympathetic German Hosenfeld does not reap any reward for his good deeds. Szpilman himself feels that perhaps he should have stood by his comrades more directly in various actions such as the Ghetto Uprising, and while everyone who has read about it thinks they understand "survivor guilt" Polanski and Brody do an excellent job of making you believe that Szpilman really feels it.

Some reviewers seem to have missed the point of the moral ambiguity, which I find disheartening. They say that the good Jews help Szpilman out of sympathy, ideology, and comraderie, and the Gentiles out of opportunism, guilt, and only because he is a great pianist. I felt that the film showed that both groups who helped Szpilman had reasons ranging through all of the above, and part of the truthfulness of the portrayal was that the "moral divide" was not so clear.

The scene with Hosenfeld, in particular, struck me as being indicative of the filmmakers' perspective on this. While many may believe that Hosenfeld doesn't kill Szpilman because he is a great pianist, the beginning of the scene, in which Hosenfeld questions Szpilman with no weapons drawn, calling none of his subordinates to him, and in a civil, human tone is indicative of the filmmakers' belief that this person's core beliefs have eaten through his indoctrination. Hosenfeld has no reason, within the context of the Nazi system, to bother to find out anything about Szpilman, yet he does. When Hosenfeld attempts to get out of the prison camp by saying he helped Szpilman, it seems a desperate attempt rather than one calculated during the time in which the tables were turned. It becomes the undeserved punishment of someone who, for no reason other than his own character, performed good deeds in a terrible situation (which he helped to create, but which others of equal anonymity who went unpunished did more to create and less to counter).

Similarly, the moral ambiguity is amplified by the pragmatics of the situation. When Szpilman's brother and sister choose to be with their family in "relocation", their actions read as "morally correct" but pragmatically quite stupid (as Szpilman himself comments). It calls into question whether or not it is equally morally correct to save yourself in order to carry-on the struggle to save not just yourself, but what is left of the community, perhaps even to join with Partisans in a direct attempt to change the situation. Szpilman recognizes the value of carrying on, but feels tremendous guilt about both abandoning his family and not joining in the Ghetto Uprising.

It is this moral complexity which makes The Pianist so compelling. It does not attempt to paint the picture in terms of "Good Jews" and "Bad Germans", but rather that both sides had their heroes, villians, and confused people who could be seen as both, and that not every good deed was rewarded or bad deed punished - which from my readings, and from the stories my grandmother has told me (such as my Grandfather's life being saved by a Ukranian SS officer), is much more honest and plays on-screen as more compelling and realistic. The film does this without overstating its point and falling into the trap wherein it tries to make Jews "equally culpable" for the Holocaust. Rather, it makes clear the morally complex situation into which people were thrown, and that each responded to it according to their own character.

I think Szpilman would find this film an appropriate interpretation of his writing, and I recommend both the film and the book to anyone who is interested in such topics.

A Touch of Realism
"The Pianist", I know it from my friend who suggest me to watch this movie. At the beginning, and from the title, I think this movie will give me such a nice experience of music composed in every scene. You know, I expect there are so much soundtrack from classic masterpiece and everything will be connected with music. The very first shot is some scene with piano-beat-rhythm. Suddenly, a great shot from tank try to break the whole building and hurt the main character of the movie. Just, what a great opening for such a reality-based-movie.

The overcoming story just a very real experience from Wladyslaw Szpilman himself, and some from Roman Polanski, the director. Every detail of each screen is from an actual event, and the movie is not exaggerating the fact. Like action movie that will expose one or two climax scenes, but this movie consistent with the fact. Some people may think this movie little bit boring, but actually that is the beauty of a realist movie, a realist movie. It is not a beauty of comedy or action, just the history way.

With a personal approach, this movie is nothing but a great deal of cinema experience. A war-view from an innocent and humble man, who try to survive in the era of crisis. The view, however, is like "Grave of the Fireflies", but the core of the movie is very different. There are sort of soul-power that will make Szpilman keep living, even in the starvation. And this kind of power make Szpilman keep playing his passion as a pianist.

But, overall this is a superb movie, not complicated, and enjoyable. Above all, as I always said, it is very realist.
How courage and hope prevails in the face of adversity
Unfortunately, my review contains a spoiler. The Pianist took place when people were being killed because of their nationality, and it tells the story of how Germany carried out the hatred felt toward the Jews almost like Hiltler did in The Holocaust. It is amazing to think of how Roman Polanski must have felt as he produced this film due to the fact that he actually experienced some of the same horrors that are seen in this film. While viewing The Pianist, I got to feel the emotional pain and turmoil that Wladyslaw Szpilman played by Adrien Brody felt as he experienced the worst time of his life. The look of total despair, anguish and pain that grips the face of Wladyslaw throughout the movie makes it hard not to have empathy for his character. The film depicts the life of a man who has a passion for playing the piano watches his life unravel before him. Even though Wladyslaw was faced with various obstacles and life changing experiences he never lost his love for playing the piano. As Wladyslaw faces life's uncertainties, he can never forget his days of playing the piano. It is only through courage, endurance and tenacity that Wladyslaw Szpilman is able to become victorious against all odds. The heroic gestures of people willing to risk their own lives in hopes of saving someone else are the backbone of this gruesome film that takes place in Poland during a period when wars were on the rise. Some of the same social injustices that were prevalent back in the early 1900's still take place in various cultures around the world today which makes The Pianist such a magnificent film. People can relate to the different aspects of the film because of the humanness it portrays. The angle in which Adrien Brody's face was shot as he faced the worst years of his life when everyone and everything around him was becoming a figment of his imagination allowed me to sympathize and connect with the desolation and anguish he must have felt in the later part of his life. The lighting used to display Wladyslaw's fingers as he played his beloved piano allowed me to focus on how passionately he felt about what he does as he delicately strokes each key of the piano with such grace and poise. The piano that Wladyslaw loved so much helped his life gain new meaning as he triumphed over the agony and despair he endured in his life with great courage.
To hell and back.
The Pianist is an incredible film in many aspects. Roman Polanski's account of the survival of the pianist, Wladyslaw Szpilman, is a document about how one man can overcome the worst possible situations in a world gone completely mad around him.

The only fault one can find with the adaptation of Mr. Szpilman's story by playwright Ronald Harwood, is the fact that we never get to know the real Wladyslaw Szpilman, the man, as some of the comments made to this forum also have indicated.

There is a very interesting point raised by the the pianist's father who upon reading something in the paper, comments about how the Americans have forgotten them. Well, not only the Americans, but the rest of the world would not raise a finger to do anything for the people that were being imprisoned and made to live in the confined area of Warsaw. The exterminating camps will come later.

What is amazing in the film, is the frankness in which director Polanski portrays the duplicity of some Jews in the ghetto. The fact that Jews were used to control other Jews is mind boggling, but it was a fact, and it's treated here matter of factly. Had this been made by an American director, this aspect would have never surfaced at all. Yet, Mr. Polanski and Mr. Harewood show us that all was not as noble and dignified as some other films have treated this ugly side of war.

Wladyslaw Szpilman, as played by Adrien Brody, is puzzling sometimes, in that we never get to know what's in his mind. He's a man intent in not dying, but he's not a fighter. He accepts the kindness extended to him. He never offers to do anything other than keep on hiding, which is a human instinct. He will never fight side by side with the real heroes of the ghetto uprising. His role is simply to witness the battle from his vantage point in one of the safe houses across the street from where the action takes place.

Adrien Brody is an interesting actor to watch. As the pianist of the story he exudes intelligence. There is a scene where Szpilman, in one of the safe houses he is taken, discovers an upright piano. One can see the music in his head and he can't contain himself in moving his fingers outside the closed instrument playing the glorious music from which he can only imagine what it will sound in his mind.

The supporting cast is excellent. Frank Findlay, a magnificent English actor is the father of the pianist and Maureen Lipman, another veteran of the stage, plays the mother with refined dignity.

In watching this film one can only shudder at the thought of another conflict that is currently brewing in front of our eyes. We wonder if the leaders of the different factions could be made to sit through a showing of The Pianist to make them realize that war is hell.

Heartfelt and enthralling
THE PIANIST is a film that takes a dark and disturbing subject matter - the persecution of the Warsaw Jews by Nazis in the Second World War - and turns it into a spellbinding, enthralling journey of a movie. Roman Polanski could easily have made this maudlin and sentimental like Spielberg's SCHINDLER'S LIST, but he thankfully avoids that temptation and the result is the much better movie of the two.

This film contains a documentary-style realism in its depiction of the various atrocities carried out by the uncaring Germans. It gets dark and darker as it goes on, and yet the viewer is unable to tear his eyes off the screen because it's all so well-realised and realistic. Adrien Brody plays the eyes and ears of the viewer in a subdued manner, yet delivers his greatest and most believable performance as a result. The story has a lot of darkness and violence, but Polanski's expert camera-work and endless style stops the subject matter ever becoming depressing; instead there's enough tension to keep you involved and wanting to find out what's next. Things build to a suitably touching and poignant climax that doesn't disappoint.
More than just a biography
I'm not quite sure if I will be able to phrase my thoughts about the movie or not, but I can easily say that this movie is one of the best movies I've ever seen. Probably I've never been touched by a movie like this one.

It's not only a biography of a great pianist, it's a documentary about a whole era, a documentary about thousands of people that suffered years ago, that lived, suffered and died, about their everyday lives and their everyday experiences.

I've read much about the second world war and I thought that I knew how it was like and how people suffered, until I saw that movie, it made me see with my own eyes what my brain couldn't imagine, the film took me back in time and space, I was in Warsaw feeling every Jewish lived there that time.

Also the movie portrayed the life and experience of Wladyslaw Szpilman flawlessly, in times I was feeling him, I was somehow suffering while I'm lying in my bed crying over someone that has already died 16 years ago.

The soundtrack fits the events perfectly, the visuals are not impressing but that actually helped concentrating on the emotional aspect.

I have never thought that a film could touch me this way, made me think about my real life now and thankful more than ever that we are living in peace and not suffering, it also made me think about all the people that suffers in our days, having a more clear picture about how wars and suffering could be like.
10 out of 10
The Pianist is an account of the true life experience of a Polish pianist during WW2, in the context of the deportation of the Jewish community to the Ghetto of Warsaw, a setting virtually absent from all films inspired on WW2.

Polanski (himself a child survivor of the Krakow and Warsaw ghettos) could have described in more detail the legendary, desperate fighting of the Jewish resistance in the ghetto of Warsaw, or the horrific mass extermination in concentration camps. Instead, the film gains in intensity by displaying the war from the pianist's own point of view (through windows, half-opened doors, holes in the walls - with big emphasis on the use of "point of view shooting" by the cameraman). One cannot help feeling disturbed by the most enthralling scenes of the film, as the isolated pianist tries to ensure his survival in the ghetto and ruins of Warsaw, hiding and fleeing, moving from one bombed house to the next, gradually becoming a shadow of his former self, hungry and afraid (merit largely attributed to the extraordinary performance by Adrien Brody, who visibly loses half of his weight throughout the film).

Does the pianist raise any sympathy from the audience? Not immediately, in my view. The pianist is more than often a drifting character, almost a witness of other people's and his own horrors. He seems to float and drift along the film like a lost feather, with people quickly appearing and disappearing from his life, some helping generously, others taking advantage of his quiet despair, always maintaining an almost blank, dispassionate demeanour. One may even wonder why we should care in the least about this character. But we do care. That is, I believe, the secret to this film's poetry.

In one of the strongest scenes, towards the end, a German officer forces the pianist to play for his life, in an episode that suddenly brings a much lighter, beautifully poetic shade to the film (this German officer will be probably compared to Schindler, although his philanthropy does not quite share the same basis).

This is also a wonderful tribute to Polish artists, through Chopin's music, with the concert at the very end of the film and the opening performance by the pianist at the local radio station (with the sound of bomb explosions in the background) forming an harmonious link between the beginning and end of the film (following Polanski's usual story-frame).

Overall, The Pianist is one of the most detailed and shocking accounts of the treatment of the Jews by the Nazis, with the atmosphere in Warsaw well captured and believable. Quite possibly, The Pianist will remain in the history of film-making as the most touching and realistic portraits of the holocaust ever made.

Polanski's film deserves a strong presence in the 2003 Oscar nominations, including a nomination for Adrien Brody's amazing performance, Polanski's sublime direction, best adapted screenplay and, obviously, best picture. This could be, at last, Polanski's long awaited, triumphal comeback to the high and mighty Hollywood.
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