The Counterfeiters (2008) What if Rick Blaine and Victor Laszlo had been captured by the Nazis in Casablanca ? That's the essential dynamic of Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky's…
DVD Review

The Counterfeiters (2008)

CHARMING SCOUNDREL : Karl Markovics in the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film The Counterfeiters
CHARMING SCOUNDREL: Karl Markovics in the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film The Counterfeiters
EW's GRADE
A-

Details Release Date: Aug 05, 2008; DVD Release Date: Aug 05, 2008; Movie Rated: R; Genres: Drama, War; With: August Diehl and Karl Markovics; Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

What if Rick Blaine and Victor Laszlo had been captured by the Nazis in Casablanca? That's the essential dynamic of Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky's Oscar-winning morality play The Counterfeiters about concentration camp inmates forced to counterfeit millions of dollars and pounds for a Nazi plot to crash the Allied economies. Sally (Markovics) is a ''most charming scoundrel,'' willing to trade his forgery skills for temporary survival. Adolf Burger (Diehl) is the stubborn idealist who risks everything to sabotage the scam. The most fascinating character, though, is their Nazi overseer (Devid Striesow), a bourgeois bureaucrat who actually believes a kind word and a Ping-Pong table can negate the inmates' plight and the hellish reality beyond the walls of the ''Golden Cage'' barrack. The real Burger, now 91, stars in several DVD extras, detailing his ''privileged'' life in the camp's counterfeiting unit — ''We were dead men on holiday; we never expected to walk away alive'' — and explaining his mission never to let the world forget the Nazis' crimes. ''What has happened exceeds the imagination of a normal person,'' he says in an interview. ''The Nazis were not only murderers but also ordinary criminals.'' His tale, in the hands of Ruzowitzky, is the culmination of a beautiful friendship. A-

Originally posted Aug 08, 2008 Published in issue #1006 Aug 15, 2008 Order article reprints