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

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

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.