Veteran producer-turned-director John Daly uses the real-life circumstances of the Nazi's so-called "Europa Plan," the scheme whereby a few very wealthy European Jews were able to trade everything they owned to the Nazis in exchange for their lives, as the premise of a dull and lumbering thriller. Hungary, 1944. As Hitler's Final Solution is pushed into overdrive and Hungary is emptied of most of its Jewish population, wealthy Jewish industrial list Josef Krauzenberg (Martin Landau) has brokered a deal with the very devil himself: Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler (Danny Webb), Hitler's number two man and head of the SS. Josef has agreed to sign over his vast steel, banking and textile empire, as well as his envied and invaluable art collection. In exchange Himmler has agreed to secretly and safely ferry Josef, his wife, Rachel (Judy Parfitt), and their extended family out of Hungary and into Switzerland. If for some reason Josef fails to comply, Himmler has ordered Lt.-Col. Adolf Eichmann (Steven Mackintosh), an architect of the genocidal Final Solution, to see to it that the entire Krauzenberg family joins Hungary's Jews in Auschwitz. While arranging for the official transfer of the Krauzenberg's property and their 3000 employees to the Reich, however, Eichmann notices something strange: According to their identification papers, the Krauzenberg's two remaining house servants, Hans Vassman (Kenny Doughty) and his pregnant wife, Ingrid (Caroline Carver), are Aryan; why, at this late date, are two Aryans still working for Jews? The truth of the matter is that Ingrid and Hans are both German Jews, Resistance fighters who are now in Hungary with false identification paper to monitor the deportation and destruction of the country's Jews. When Hans finds out that both Himmler and Eichmann will be Josef and Rachel's "guests" for dinner, he proposes putting their two cyanide capsules to good use and poisoning them both. Ingrid, however, begs him not to; she fears reprisals against the Krauzenberg family and the risks to the life of their unborn baby. Once the Krauzenbergs are safely out of Hungary, however, who will save this "Aryan" couple once their true identities have been found out? Set mostly over the course of a single evening, the film is lugubriously paced and filled with improbable turns of events. Worse, the film structure pits Himmler, who becomes the de facto protector of Jews, against Eichmann, the destroyer, forcing audiences to root for one over the other as if such a thing is conscionable under any circumstances.
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- Released: 2004
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: Veteran producer-turned-director John Daly uses the real-life circumstances of the Nazi's so-called "Europa Plan," the scheme whereby a few very wealthy European Jews were able to trade everything they owned to the Nazis in exchange for their lives, as the… (more)