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Die Falscher (The Counterfeiters) - arthouse and international DVD / foreign language DVD / drama DVD / Academy Award-winning DVD review
Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 stars
Featuring: Karl Markovics, August Diehl, Devid Striesow, Martin Brambach, August Zirner
Directors: Stefan Ruzowitzky   Distributor: Sony Pictures
DVD release: 05 August 2008   Runtime: 95 minutes
(1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD Features: Audio tracks (TrueHD 5.1 Surround - German, French), Subtitles (English, English SDH, French, Spanish), Commentary with director, Deleted scenes, Making of The Counterfeiters, Adolf Burger's historical artifacts

Salomon Sorowitsch (Karl Markovics) makes his living forging passports and money in Germany, 1936. He is looked down upon by some, as are all Jews in 1930's Germany. Then he is arrested by a policeman named Fredrich Herzog (Devid Striesow) as a counterfeiter and sent to Mauthausen concentration camp. Life is hard for him - and for all who are imprisoned there - but he manages to schmooze his way into the good favor of his captors by drawing pictures of them and feeding their egos. His talents get him transferred to Sachsenhausen, where he and others with similar talents are sequestered in an isolated area. Herzog, now playing for the Nazis, is in charge of a secret operation to counterfeit currency, both to finance the Nazi war machine and to bring the economies of other nations to their knees.

After much hard work, which Sorowitsch enjoys, the group is able to reproduce British bank notes. The Nazis send a representative to Switzerland to verify that they're real. They come back with positive results but tell them to send them off to the UK to find out for sure. This test is also successful, and they are able to reproduce the banknotes efficiently in great quantities.

Next up is the U.S. dollar. It's an unfulfilled goal for Sorowitsch, a challenge he attacks with zeal. Working against Sorowitsch and the others in the group is Adolph Burger (August Diehl), who was sent to Auschwitz for printing anti-Nazi fliers. He still fights the Nazis and sabotages their attempts to reproduce the dollar. The team is caught between a rock and a hard place: Fail to produce and they die; succeed, and they help to fund the Nazis, undermine the currency of the Allies, and succeed themselves out of their usefulness.

The Counterfeiters is an excellent retelling of the true story of the largest counterfeiting operation in history. As with so many stories of this troubled period of world history, there's heartbreak and horror, senseless death and human kindness.

The Blu-ray version of The Counterfeiters reproduces the director's vision just as it was seen in theaters. More film grain than you might expect reproduces the gritty feel of the time and place, and the sound is excellent 5.1 stereo. Extras include deleted scenes, making-of featurettes, interviews and director's commentary.

This important film should not be missed.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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