The Counterfeiters | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Counterfeiters 

A fascinating drama about a little-known Nazi war tactic

From the strange-but-true files comes this Holocaust drama from Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky about the secret Nazi war strategy to destabilize the Allies' economies with forged currency. To that end, they sequestered skilled men, including top forger and Russian Jew Salomon "Sally" Sorowitsch (Karl Markovics), in relative comfort at a concentration camp. The assignment: Create passable bank notes or die. While his colleagues struggle with their privilege and agonize over their part in sustaining the war effort, Sally, a career criminal, remains an unrepentant survivor, never ceding any emotion (and thus advantage) to the Nazis. Sally's steely code makes Counterfeiters -- which won the 2008 Foreign Film Oscar -- more of a dramatic exercise in situational morality than an emotionally driven story (though there are the inevitable hanky moments). But this fascinating tidbit of WWII history and the coiled intensity of Markovics' portrayal (which, ultimately, isn't without horror and guilt) make for a compelling film. In German and Russian, with subtitles. Manor (AH) [capsule review]

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