The Counterfeiters

"Good"

The Counterfeiters Review


Stefan Ruzowitzky's The Counterfeiters opens on a beach in Monte Carlo where Salomon Sorowitsch (the great Karl Markovics) is sitting in a nice suit and a briefcase. Ten minutes later, Salomon walks into the swankest hotel in the gambling paradise and opens the case to reveal a king's bounty of crisp bills. You'd think the guy was James Bond's ragged older brother but, in truth, the guy has earned the right to be a ruthless money-spender.

Based on the true account of a group of Jewish counterfeiters that worked for the Nazis, Ruzowitzky casts Sorowitsch as the morally negligent foreman of a group of counterfeiters. Already an accomplished counterfeiter before being caught, Salomon (his friends call him Solly) gets put in job of the money counterfeiting operation by Herzog (an impressively whiny Devid Striesow), the commander of his current camp and the man who originally arrested Salomon.

Sorowitsch gets a morally righteous kick in the stones by fellow prisoner Adolf Burger (played with ample rage by August Diehl), who would later go onto write the non-fiction story that the film is based on. Adolf starts laying it on thick when Sorowitsch is handed the task of making perfect counterfeits of the American dollar. Burger, given the news that his wife was shot for trying to escape, uses his job at the lightpress to sabotage all of Sorowitsch's molds. Herzog and his diabolical right-hand man Holst (Martin Brambach) threaten to shoot random employees unless they can make a perfect counterfeit dollar.

Things are left relatively ambiguous to Salomon until Holst executes the young Kolya (Sebastian Urzendowsky), a young man who took Sorowitsch as his father figure. The filmmaking also seems ambiguous. It's a consistent film, in tone and in story, but with films as outlandishly daring as Fateless and last year's superb Black Book rethinking the War, its victims, and perceptions of the aftermath, something as terminally normal as The Counterfeiters comes off as hay in a haystack. That goes for almost every facet of the production besides the acting: Cinematographer Benedict Neuenfels' camerawork does its job succinctly but with no verve and Marius Ruhland's score sounds like it came out of a can. And don't get me started on the paint-by-numbers production design.

My fury over what films the Academy chooses to nominate, leave alone those that win, might never subside, but The Counterfeiters certainly isn't the worst film they've ever picked (my choice: Life is Beautiful). That being said, how a film like this sneaks past genuinely great films like 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, The Host, or the aforementioned Black Book may be one of those great mysteries that are never meant to be solved. For now, however, The Counterfeiters joins that class of films like Tsotsi and The Sea Inside that are just good enough to look like they matter and are digestible enough for the Academy to continue its unparalleled losing streak in celebrating artistic accomplishment. Be sure to tune in Sunday.

Aka Die Fälscher.

Fake!



The Counterfeiters

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 22nd March 2007

Box Office USA: $5.4M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Production compaines: Fortune Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Fresh: 114 Rotten: 7

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Josef Aichholzer, Nina Bohlmann, Babette Schroder

Starring: John Sutton as Inspector Jeff MacAllister, Doris Merrick as Margo Talbot, Hugh Beaumont as Philip Drake, Lon Chaney, Jr. as Louie Struber, George O'Hanlon as Frankie Dodge, Robert Kent as Tony Richards

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.