Friday, August 22, 2014

Anatomy Of A Performance: Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List (1993)

Hello, Bloggers, welcome to a new episode of Anatomy Of A Performance, where I take a performance and try to dissect the internalities behind them. For today's episode, I will go into the first male performance on this segment. That performance is Ralph Fiennes as the sociopathic Nazi Amon Goeth in Schindler's List. Let's take a look:

  I'll start off by discussing this scene above. In this scene, Amon is seemingly seducing his servant, Helen Hirsch, played by Embeth Davidtz. At first, he seems very charismatic on the surface, yet as he cavorts her, she is shaking and as soon as he looks like he is about to kiss her, he suddenly flicks the switch and turns violent. It feels like that even though this man is a monster, he has a bit of self-loath as he hates himself for loving this woman.


      Now, in this next scene, both Amon and Oskar Schindler, played by Liam Neeson, are talking about power. As Oskar is trying to explain what power really means, Amon just implicitly brushes it off. However, as Oskar explains his meaning of power, the look that Amon gives indicates that maybe he thinks that Oskar is right, but brushes it off, showing that he is in denial. The way that Fiennes portrays this character makes it seem that even though Goeth is a monstrous human being, he might just feel trapped by the path of evil he chose to take.Yet Fiennes doesn't play it for pity or force the audience to gain empathy for his character.

     So, what I found to be quite complex about Fiennes' portrayal is how he lets his quiet force of restraint carry through Goeth's sinister and rather hollow externality. Yet, there are some quiet moments, like how he almost kisses Helen and how he may believe what Oskar is saying about power is true by the look on his face, which indicate how despite being an embodiment of evil, might just feel trapped by his path that he took. Since Amon Goeth is a sadistic Neo-Nazi commander, there is probably no going back for him and you might just wonder whether he is self-aware without feeling sorry for him. To me, that is quite a difficult task to pull off. To humanize a villain without making him humanistic enough to make us feel for him. In my opinion, Ralph Fiennes' multi-dimensional performance is a demonstration of the kind of commitment an actor can bring to his character without having to just undergo a physical commitment.

So, that was my analysis of Ralph Fiennes' brilliant performance as the sadistic Amon Goeth in Schindler's List. If you agree or disagree or would like to add your own input, please feel free to write in the comments section, as always. Thanks for reading!