In Darkness

At the Movies Blog
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in darknessThere’s nothing more interesting than watching a movie about a person I knew nothing about. I didn’t know a thing about Oskar Schindler when I saw that. I was surprised at how entertaining and moving it was.

Leopold Socha is a lot like Schindler. He helped Jews during the Holocaust (although a lot fewer). He was a flawed guy that started out profiting by helping them, but ended up doing the right thing.

It’s based on the story of a ghetto in Lvov, Poland, where sewage worker Leopold Socha and petty thief helps 12 Jews hide underground.

The movie got an Oscar nomination for best foreign film. I was sadly disappointed by so much about it.

I wasn’t a big fan of Inglourious Basterds, but at least the opening scene with Christoph Waltz is so well-done and different. This movie gave us nothing new about the Holocaust. Oh wait, it did. Lots of nudity and sex scenes, which were totally out of place and unrealistic.

I’m supposed to believe a woman would pleasure herself in a room with a group of others hiding in an attic, while fearing she could be shot any day? Or once the folks start living in the sewers – and talk non-stop about the horrible smell (one kid even puking) – that the second day down there a couple would go at it? Come on!

I liked that director Agnieszka Holland (Europa, Europa) made this hero such an interesting man to watch. When he’s negotiating with people (including his wife), it’s interesting to watch. I just wish she wouldn’t have made the other characters so flat.

We get the expected fights over – lack of space, food rationing, and the rat problem (not sure why Holland had to have them squeaking non-stop).

Among the Catholics, we get two different characters finding out for the first time that Jesus was a Jew.

There were a lot of sexual scenes that seemed forced and really out of place. I also find it hard to believe that a woman, hiding in an attic from Nazis, would want to pleasure herself at the moment she did. I find it hard to believe that within a few days of being in the sewers, with the stench and everything else they keep complaining about, a couple goes at it (there are a few other moments, too).

An early scene showed naked women running in slow motion, and we hear them being slaughtered by machine gun fire. It doesn’t work (just as the slow motion scene of nude people running in the recent Wanderlust didn’t, but for different reasons).

The biggest complaint I have with the movie is that it’s two and a half hours long and I was bored. I’m rarely bored watching films; although I am curious to read the book the story is based on – In the Sewers of Lvov by Robert Marshall.

I was bothered that there were a handful of really great scenes in this movie that made me long for a better film. I especially enjoyed the edits that showed the sewers, and what was happening on the streets above.

I could give this movie a little bit of a pass because they wanted to stay true to the real story and not give you a Hollywood, sensationalized version of the events that unfolded. Unfortunately, that also made for a long movie that was boring at times.

It gets 2 stars out of 5.

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