I can now understand how the film has won critical acclaim, including the Palme d'Or. It not only has a compelling storyline (as do most war movies); it also has many artistic touches and a dash of humour which shows up in the most unlikely of scenes, lifting us out of the gloom ever so momentarily.
There is also a kind of closure when Szpilman returns to the radio station after the war to complete his Nocturne. The film isn't called the Pianist for nothing - every so now and then, music re-enters his life and he relives his glorious past with a concerto in his head - before awakening back to war-torn reality.
Now I feel like watching Schindler's List and Life is Beautiful.