Counterfeiters, The (Die Falscher) (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner10/10/2007

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 98 mins

Thoroughly enjoyable wartime drama with a strong script and fantastic performances.

What's it all about?
Karl Markovics (who looks like a grumpy Bing Crosby) plays Salomon (Sally) Sorowitsch, a Jewish master counterfeiter who lives a fast life of women, cards and forged cash in Berlin. He's arrested in 1936 and thrown into the Mauthausen concentration camp, where he quickly uses his artistic skills to gain favours by doing portraits of the guards and murals and the like.

Sally is quickly head-hunted and transferred to the camp of Sachsenhausen, where he's put in charge of overseeing Operation Berhard, the largest counterfeiting operation in history. However, their luxury conditions are in stark contrast to the concentration camp just over their adjoining wall and one member of Sally's team, Adolph Burger (August Diehl), resorts to sabotage, which puts Sally in an increasingly difficult position.

The Good
It's a little odd that Sorowitsch is the main character, given that the film is actually based on Burger's memoirs, but he's certainly the more fascinating character. As such, Markovics is terrific, in a performance that appears to be emotionally cold on the surface, but is gradually revealed to have hidden depths, primarily through his friendship with a young fellow prisoner from Russia (Sebastian Urzendowsky as Karloff).

Diehl is also excellent, nailing Burger's wild-eyed desperation - he looks like he could have stepped out of a 1940s Hollywood film. There's also strong support from Devid Striesow as Superintendent Friedrich Herzog, who's responsible both for Sally's arrest and his later promotion and who turns out to be surprisingly sympathetic.

The Great
The film's also beautifully shot and contains some superbly suspenseful sequences, such as Herzog gathering the men to tell them about one of their agents trying to cash the first batch of British pounds.

Worth seeing?
In short, The Counterfeiters is an impressively directed drama with a superb central performance from Markovics and a gripping story to tell. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Counterfeiters, The (Die Falscher) (15)
Counterfeiters, The (Die Falscher) has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 18/12/2017 18:23

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