"The Counterfeiters" ** 1/2
Jumped over to the AFI Siver in Silver Spring for a members-only preview of the Academy Award Foreign Language Film winner hosted by the Austrian Embassy. Written and directed by Stephan Ruzowitzky, the Austrian-German produced entry is worth seeing but certainly isn't close to being the best Foreign Language film of 2007! (Several that were better weren't even nominated in this category. See my more detailed thoughts on that in my previous AA posts.) This morality tale is based on fact and details the Nazi's plan to destroy the world economy by flooding the market with counterfeit pounds and dollars. At the crux of the plan is the captive Jewish counterfeiter, Salomon Sorowitsch (played serenely and stoically by Karl Markovics who gives a wonderful muted performance) who is forced by his captors to head a group of some 150 artisans. In return for their efforts, they are given ample food and a decent bed to keep them "happy". The story becomes essentially a moral dilemma when several of the workers want to sabotage the plan but are thwarted by those who want to go along with the program in order to save their own necks. The filmmakers constantly employ the cinema verite shaky-cam to give you a sense of being there. And the realistic sets and grainy quality of the film lend itself to that end. However, ultimately, I was left dry at the conclusion-not really connecting with any of the characters and caring, really who, lived or died. Also, a prologue would have been nice to update viewers on the fates of the principals who survived. Maybe I'm just Holocausted-out.