The film of Thomas Keneally's novel is Spielberg's finest since Jaws. The elastic editing and grainy camerawork lend an immediacy as surprising as the shockingly matter-of-fact depiction of violence and casual killing. And Spielberg can handle actors - Neeson as Schindler, the German profiteer whose use of cheap labour in his Cracow factory saved 1,100 Jews from death; Kingsley as Stern, the canny accountant; Fiennes as Goeth, bloodless commandant of Plaszow camp. Wisely, the director rarely seeks to simplify the mysterious complexity of Schindler, an opportunist whose deeds became giddily selfless. As in his earlier work, there's a sense of wonder at the inexplicable, but it's no longer childlike. At times the film becomes a scream of horror at the inhumanity it recalls and recreates, and the b/w images never become aesthetically sanitised. True, the Jews are huddled, victimised masses. True, too, that Spielberg finally relents and tries to 'explain' Schindler so that the last hour becomes steadily more simplistic and sentimental. Otherwise, however, it's a noble achievement, and essential viewing.