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The Counterfeiters [Blu-ray]
Region 1 USA/CA (
Winner of the 2008 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Stefan Ruzowitzky's THE COUNTERFEITERS is the first film from Austria to ever receive that prestigious honor. Based on the memoir by Adolf Burger, the film tells the inspiring story of a pre-World War II criminal whose cunning and fiery spirit enable him to overcome deadly odds and survive life in Germany's Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Before the war, Salomon Sorowitsch (Karl Markovics) was one of the world's most ingenious counterfeiters, until he was finally caught and arrested by Friedrich Herzog (Devid Striesow). Years later, as the Nazi movement is in full swing, the nefariously charming Herzog--now a Nazi leader--recruits Sorowitsch to lead an enormous counterfeiting project called Operation Bernhard. Placed in a horrific position of moral corruption, Sorowitsch is forced to decide whether or not to save his own life or prevent the Nazis from causing further damage on an even grander scale. His fellow prisoner Adolf Burger (August Diehl) is determined to sabotage the operation, but Sorowitsch understands how dangerous a proposition this is.
While THE COUNTERFEITERS is based on real-life tragedy, it never loses its primary objective as a work of dramatic entertainment. This deft balancing act is what keeps Ruzowitzky's moving tale from becoming too bleak and depressing. The result is a deeply impressive work that addresses a topic not often explored in Holocaust cinema--the dilemma of victims who were forced to act immorally and illegally for the betterment of their captors. Powerfully acted by Markovics, THE COUNTERFEITERS is the type of film that the Oscars were made for.
Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film 2007
- for some strong violence, brief sexuality/nudity and language
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 26390
August Diehl, Karl Markovics, Devid Striesow, August Zirner, Marie Bumer, Dolores Chaplin
4 stars out of 5 -- "Markovics gives a brilliantly understated performance in an engrossing, powerful film that justifies its billing as this season's THE LIVES OF OTHERS."
4 stars out of 5 -- "Superbly designed and incisively acted....Based on a true story, THE COUNTERFEITERS is anchored in Markovics' central turn..."
4 stars out of 5 -- "[With] a robust dramatic drive and thrilling pace....Ruzowitzky accordingly ramps up the tension, but all the while he's careful to respect the harsh reality in which his thoughtful movie is firmly rooted."
"The moral dilemmas marshaled by Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky prove absolutely gripping, and the whole film is alive with style an intelligence."
"Mr. Markovics, without sentimentalizing the character, allows us glimpses of his soul. His performance is a tour de force of concentration and understatement..."
New York Times
"[Markovics] inhabits his not-nice character with such conviction...that we're freed to consider him as a man, not just a victim -- an authentic gift in a fascinating story of faking it." -- Grade: A-
4 stars out of 5 -- "The questions this accomplished film raises are intended to pervade your emotions, forcing you to qualify your pity and your sympathies even in the face of such shocking sadness."
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