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It has to stressed again and again: Austrian Stefan Ruzowitzky ( is a damn genius, and he has proven it with the amazing masterpiece "Die Siebtelbauern" (1998, The Inheritors, He brough the strange German-language genre of "Heimatfilm" (killed by "Sissy", into a context where it had a chance of surviving, and enabled followers to find interest for their respective interpretation of the bavarian or Austrian home area. By today, there appears to be a new tradition of dealing with very local topics and making use of the local romanticism, which also has its rough edges and often is very cruel.

"The Counterfeiters" is no Heimatfil as such, because the characters’ environment is most definitely their home turf and the "normal madness" of local life is absent because normality is absent in a concentration camp. What reminds of the previous films, however, is the director’s and production designer’s and photographer’s sense for naturalness: the colours, the faces, the manners, the sayings are all very non-pathetic, very non-over-the-top, very "normal" in the sense that this is a very credible performance of the recurring concentration camp theme. And then there is the little absurd fact that the script is based on a real-life story, which is not necessary to know while watching the film, but which adds to that feeling of naturalism, of course. Maybe cruel absurdity was one of the dominating factors in Nazi Germany? Particularly well-done is a scene where the "Counterfeiters" (concentration camp prisoners themselves) get threatened by some fellwo prisoners from a less privileged part of the camp, who have every right to believe that those well-fed and clothed guys cannot be prisoners by any means, but must be SS. Very good film, some acting flaws can be forgiven.

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