Picking Liam Neeson's best role is like picking the solar system's most inhabitable rock (planet Earth) or The Discovery Channel's best miniseries ('Planet Earth') -- there just isn't that much room for debate. Sure, he was a total bad-ass in 'Ethan Frome' and he narrated the crap out of IMAX's 'Everest,' but Liam Neeson was born with a very particular set of skills, and all of them were put to indelible work as the eponymous anti-hero in Steven Spielberg's 'Schindler's List.'

The thing about Spielberg's hallowed Holocaust saga is that -- between the fluidity of the filmmaking and the hypnotic power of the performances -- this three-hour pastiche of ghastly genocidal imagery is about as eminently watchable as movies get (an issue with which certain circles have taken considerable offense). Spielberg treated this most careful of subject matters with the solemnity it demands, but the man's an irrepressible entertainer, and his take on the Shoah is every bit as slick as 'Catch Me if You Can' or 'Amistad' (and that one had Matthew McConaughey!).

There's a great bit in the upcoming second season of Louis C.K.'s 'Louie' where he talks about how 'Schindler's List' was a historical document when it first came out, but now it's just another thing that's on, sandwiched between episodes of 'Tosh.0' and 'Chelsea Lately' and troublingly funnier than either (those examples of horrific TV shows are my own). This was sort of inevitable -- the Geneva Convention might actually stipulate that all 90s movies must play on cable at least twice a week -- but the enduring appeal of 'Schindler's List' as a pop spectacle has a lot to do with the fact that its protagonist was practically the Danny Ocean of Nazi Germany.
categories Features, Cinematical