Wah Wah Wah...The Counterfeiters
12 October 2007 (UK)
Based on a real operation by the higher eschelons of Hitlers comand during the latter stages of World War 2. This film depicts an ex-con Jew, an artist with a highly skilled penchant for counterfeiting money, wheeling and dealing his way through the more debauched circles of pre-war Berlin life. Lingering a bit too long making money from a false passport, he finds himself arrested and bound on a train for a concentration camp. Whereupon the stark reality of war kicks in. Used to prison life, he keeps his head down and plays the game.
This is not a light film, neither does it go down the line of many films of this type, drawing the lives in the camps in graphic detail. Although this is portrayed enough for the viewer to understand the subsequent dilema which Salomon "Sally" Sorowitsch (the actor Karl Markovics) is faced with.
His past criminal history for highly skilled forgery has not gone unoticed, and fits in very well with the planned operation to flood the English and American market place with false notes. A strategic attempt to undermine the economies of both.
He is given the choice of remaining in hell on earth or being removed to another camp that secretly houses a unit of other skilled detainees dedicated to perfecting the forgery of the Pound and Dollar. Sally being the survivor that he is, has no doubts where his loyalties lie, looking after no 1 is his priority.
The film unravels around the captive team's fragile control of the operation. As strong emotions and moral justifications ensue, about their special status and working for their oppressors goal, each having a different view, not least of all Sally.
To quote Sally when pressed with the idealogical argument that solidarity with the others in the camp is the only moral answer, replies, 'I wouldnt give them (the Nazi's) the satisfaction of seeing me dead'
A fascinating, and gripping film right to the end, does end up posing the question; what would you do?