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78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics What's this?

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8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 28 Ratings

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  • Summary: The true story of Salomon Sorowitsch, counterfeiter extraordinaire and bohemian who was in captured by the Nazis in 1944. He agrees to help the Nazis in an organized counterfeiting operation set up to finance the war effort. It was the biggest counterfeit-money scam of all time. Over 130The true story of Salomon Sorowitsch, counterfeiter extraordinaire and bohemian who was in captured by the Nazis in 1944. He agrees to help the Nazis in an organized counterfeiting operation set up to finance the war effort. It was the biggest counterfeit-money scam of all time. Over 130 million pounds sterling were printed under conditions that couldn't have been more tragic or spectacular. During the last years of the war, as the German Reich saw that the end was near, the authorities decided to produce their own banknotes in the currencies of their major war enemies. They hoped to use the duds to flood the enemy economy and fill the empty war coffers. At the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, two barracks were separated from the rest of the camp and the outside world, and transformed into a fully equipped counterfeiters workshop. "Operation Bernhard" was born. Prisoners were brought to Sachsenhausen from other camps to implement the plan, and professional printers, fastidious bank officials, and simple craftsmen all became members of the top-secret counterfeiter crew. They had a choice: If they cooperated with the enemy, they had a chance to survive as first-class prisoners in a "golden cage" with enough to eat and a bed to sleep in. If they sabotaged the operation, a sure death awaited them. For the counterfeiters, it was not only a question of saving their own lives, but also about saving their conscience as well... (Sony Classics) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 23
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 23
  3. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. 100
    The Counterfeiters is in its own smart, trim fashion "The Bridge on the River Kwai" of concentration-camp sagas. Also based (like Kwai) on a real-life story, this movie starts small but becomes a miniature epic of overreach and moral drift.
  2. This poses some tricky moral questions, and its troubling ambiguities rank a cut above the dubious uplift of "Schindler's List."
  3. Swift and compelling, winner of this year’s Oscar for best foreign-language picture, The Counterfeiters may not be destined for the large international audience that embraced last year’s winner, “The Lives of Others.” But it’s the better, tougher film, with a more provocative moral dilemma at its center.
  4. A gripping, unusual and suitably harrowing -- if, in the final analysis, not particularly satisfying -- concentration camp drama.
  5. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    75
    Though extensively fictionalized -- Sorowitch is loosely based on the notorious, larger-than-life forger Salomon Smolianoff; Herzog on SS officer Bernhard Krueger, after whom the operation was named.
  6. A conventional mixture of thriller and moral drama, the film is unsettling in both intentional and unintentional ways.
  7. 67
    Markovics largely rescues the film with his mesmerizingly layered, steady performance as a man who solves the problem of compromise by refusing to admit that he's compromising.

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. MikeD.
    May 24, 2008
    10
    Riveting from start to finish. I thought other foreign-film Oscar nominees were worthy of winning and was surprised to see this one win, but Riveting from start to finish. I thought other foreign-film Oscar nominees were worthy of winning and was surprised to see this one win, but that was before I had seen it. It deserves the Oscar, and your $10 to see it. Expand
  2. Fantasy
    Mar 1, 2008
    10
    Excellent! Most worthy of the praise and honors it ireceived.
  3. SusanM.
    Apr 13, 2008
    10
    This movie was incredibly well-done. It's clearly better when Europeans make WWII films - they do it much better than Hollywood.
  4. ChadS.
    Mar 29, 2008
    8
    A "mercy f***"; it's the first bit of English that an Auschwitz survivor named Meyer Maslow learned when he first immigrated to the A "mercy f***"; it's the first bit of English that an Auschwitz survivor named Meyer Maslow learned when he first immigrated to the states, in novelist Francine Prose's "A Changed Man". Maslow, the leader of an Amnesty International-type organization, used the holocaust for sex with college coeds when he taught at an American university. Concentration camps and post-war sex collude in "Die Falscher"(American title: "The Counterfeiters"), too, as a hooker waives her services rendered charge after she sees the identifying markings on Salomon Sorowitsch's arms that denote the Russian's first-hand experience with crematoriums and other Nazi iconography. Maslow, for all we know(Prose keeps her novel in the present), could've been a Nazi collaborator like Sorowitsch(Karl Markovics), who insists that the prostitute take the money, because the counterfeiter knows he doesn't deserve a mercy f***. Like "Schindler's List", a war profiteer(August Diehl as Adolf Burger) incidentally saves the lives of a few Jews by putting them to work, but unlike the Steven Spielberg film, there are no clear-cut heroes to put a face on Operation Bernhard. Salomon is like the marathon runner who walks throughout the race, but scores the free t-shirt, nevertheless. Salomon was "there", without really being there, which makes "Die Falscher" unique from other movies about the forced labor camps. This time around, the morally compromised only goes through the motions of expelling his bumpy past. Listen closely to what Salomon tells the whore after his self-abnegating exorcism. Expand
  5. Sep 17, 2010
    8
    Austrian film about Saloman Sorowitsch, a Jewish counterfeiter who was spared the concentration camps in WWII to run a fake currencyAustrian film about Saloman Sorowitsch, a Jewish counterfeiter who was spared the concentration camps in WWII to run a fake currency production for the Nazis.
    Moving, disturbing & great performances from Karl Markovics in the lead & Martin Brambach who gives Ralph Fiennes's Amon Goeth a run for his money as the thoroughly unpleasant Holst.
    Definitely worth a watch.
    Expand
  6. JayH.
    Aug 2, 2008
    8
    Amazing story, very well directed with an excellent cast. Fine attention to period detail. Moving as well as disturbing. The writing is first Amazing story, very well directed with an excellent cast. Fine attention to period detail. Moving as well as disturbing. The writing is first rate. Very fascinating, always interesting. Expand
  7. RolandB.
    May 12, 2008
    5
    note to entertainment weekly: doesn't take sides....? guessed we watched a different movie. personally i thought this was your brand note to entertainment weekly: doesn't take sides....? guessed we watched a different movie. personally i thought this was your brand name holocaust movie with all the tricks we are used to implemented to manipulate us and make us sad without offering anything innovative or new to say about the already well explored subject. Expand

See all 11 User Reviews

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