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A dissenting critic turns his head in disbelief
as he hears his peers hyping themselves into
believing a mediocre film is a "must see," for
the umpteenth time.

The Pianist
Review written by: Alex Sandell

*Warning* spoiler contained in the third paragraph of this review.  Skip said paragraph if you have yet to see the film. 

If you crossed Schindler's List with The Diary of Anne Frank after ripping the emotional core from them both, you'd wind up with The Pianist.  Roman Polanski directs the film like a surgeon mends a broken heart; very meticulously but without any passion. 

The movie is based on a true story about a Jewish pianist who survived years of Nazi-induced hell, never forgetting his love of the piano or losing the lust for his life.  While the premise is compelling, Polanski keeps you at a distance throughout most of the picture.  You're left feeling oddly apathetic toward the horrors presented on the silver screen and indifferent toward the efforts made by the pianist to simply survive.

Roman has created a fine looking, but oddly impassive, film.  It is only toward the end of the movie, when a Nazi becomes so engrossed by the pianist's playing that he spares the man and then goes on to save him, that Polanski allows us to feel for the characters on screen. 

Over two hours into the movie and you're finally given an idea of what it could have been, if only it hadn't been destroyed by its director's ineptitude.  It's truly a shame that someone more capable didn't grab hold of this one before the visionless Roman stole its life away. 

Although he can be an incredible director (the exceptional Chinatown shows how talented the man truly is), I have never cared for Roman Polanski as a screenwriter. From Rosemary's Baby to Frantic to The Ninth Gate, he has taken intriguing ideas and turned them bland by, ironically enough, writing them.  Still, those films were only harmless "ideas" made into middling movies.  The Pianist was a reality, not some fictional "thriller" dreamed up by a hit-and-miss screenwriter/director.  The Pianist is a true story and it's been raped by a man who should of yelled "cut" on his own career a long, long time ago.

On a scale of 1-10?

4

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Don't miss the Juicy reviews of Chicago, The Hours, Gangs of New York, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Pianist, About Schmidt, Talk to Her, Catch me if you Can, Adaptation, or Narc!    Be back for Juicy reviews of Daredevil and The Double-D Avenger, coming soon!

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Text (Copyright) 2002 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved].

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