At first glance, The Counterfeiters, adapted from Adolf Burger's book, looks like another concentration camp film; but Stefan Ruzowitsky's movie takes a slightly different angle. First off, the 'hero' is not a good guy; Salomon Sorowitsch (Markovics) is a soulless, selfish man who only looks out for himself. Once a talented artist, Sal has made a mint making counterfeit money in pre-war Germany - "Why make money making art? Making money by making money is a lot easier" - but his business is rumbled by the SS and he's thrown into prison. War breaks out and the Jewish Sal is sent to a camp where, five years later, his artistic talents are recognised by the greedy Captain Herzog (Streisow), under pressure to create the American dollar for his Nazi friends hoping to flee the encroaching Russians. Will he save his own skin by perfecting the dollar and helping his enemies escape, or will Sal deliberately sabotage the process and risk being shot? The Counterfeiters is a drab, grey film that's devoid of joy, but Ruzowitsky takes time to include some unexpected moments of hilarity in this slow burner. The director knows that the audience has seen 101 concentration camp films and prefers to flip the expectations: although there's the usual sadistic Nazi guard, it's only a minor role, and for the most part the charming Herzog is the only Nazi on view with Devid Streisow striking the perfect balance between the Nazi and the human in the Nazi uniform. However, this is Markovics's film, and he's a joy to watch.
Details: Germany / 98mins (15A).
The opinions expressed here are those of the viewer and do not reflect those of Entertainment.ie. Entertainment.ie accepts no responsibility, legal or otherwise, for their accuracy of content. Please contact us to report abusive content