Amazon Prime film review: The Counterfeiters
Director: Stefan Ruzowitsky
Cast: Karl Markovics, August Diehl
Watch The Counterfeiters online in the UK: Amazon Prime / Amazon Instant / iTunes / TalkTalk TV / Google Play
Based upon the memoirs of survivor Adolf Burger, The Counterfeiters is a truly bizarre (yet bizarrely true) story. During the Second World War, the Nazis committed many horrific acts behind closed doors. Traditionally, cinema has shown us the conflict on the battlefield, hinting at these atrocities while keeping them out of sight. Here, director Stefan Ruzowitsky (Anatomy) takes us inside the walls of the concentration camps, in particular camp Sachsenhausen.
Salomon “Sally” Sorowitsch is a counterfeiter. And he’s good at it. Revelling in a life of booze and women, he gets arrested and thrown into the concentration camps. Later, he is transferred to Sachsenhausen. His purpose there? To help lead Operation Bernhard, the Nazi’s money laundering scheme. Producing forged pounds and dollars, the Nazis plan to flood and destroy the opposition’s economies. Helping them to achieve this goal, the prisoners are treated like princes: luxury beds, ping-pong tables, everything to make them feel at home. Forever lurking outside the doors, the unspoken terror of the War permeates the air.
An enslaved ensemble led by a likeable anti-hero, The Counterfeiters doesn’t shy away from telling it like it is. But it’s the way that the story’s told that really sets this deceptively complex film apart from the rest.
Focussing on the individual characters of Sally and Burger (Diehl), the director forces us to confront the moral dilemma they face. Set primarily within the walls of the workshop, the competent cast create a claustrophobic atmosphere. Clocking in at 97 minutes, The Counterfeiters is brief. Succinct and provocative, its message will haunt you for much longer.
The Counterfeiters is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.