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

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

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.