The moral dilemma and historical setting of The Counterfeiters gives it interest. The movie just lacks the dramatic edge to be gripping rather than compelling. It uses the usual recipe of an uncompromising Holocaust drama: It’s shot on grey days, giving everything a monochromatic dreariness. The sun never shines in Europe. But the formula of triumph through adversity only connects lightly at an emotional level because the film observes its characters’ moral choices from a distance. Locked in a Nazi internment camp, Jewish prisoner Salomon (Karl Markovics) is in charge of making counterfeit money to weaken the economies of German opposition. They can keep themselves alive, but at the expense of helping Germany win the war. It’s in the process of those mind games where writer/director Stefan Ruzowitzky could have made this great.

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