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

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.