Monday, April 7, 2008

The Counterfeiters

Set in a concentration camp, a Nazi plan to flood the economy of Britain with fraudulent money makes use of Jewish prisoners who have histories of excellence in the skills necessary for counterfeiting money (and passports). Since the actors are largely unknown to American audiences, there is an intensity to the portrayals. Unlike the melodramatic "The Pianist" which I abhored, or the incredulous "Life is Beautiful", this movie does not strain credibility or logic. At least not to the limit. I found it intense, and it presents the audience with questions of what would their own participation in these scenarios be. It was gritty and violent because concentration camps and Nazis are grim and violent. It is a reminder of what despots can do, and what the human cost of the world's dictators bring to the rest of us. It is a story of lucky survival for some because of a talent honed for criminal purposes. Is it fair that the counterfeiter is the one to be fed and housed while so many Jews with other talents are starved to death and gassed? There are other questions in this film that you can only answer for yourself.