Stars: Ulrich Tukur, Mathieu Kassovitz, Ulrich Muhe, Michel Duchaussoy, Ion Caramitru, Marcel Iures
Screenwriter: Costa-Gavras, Jean-Claude Grumberg; Based on the German play Der Stellvertreter by Rolf Hochhuth
Suspenseful and well acted, this is the tale of World War II SS officer and chemist, Kurt Gerstein (Ulrich Tukur), who is horrified to learn that the water purification pellets he helped develop are being used in concentration camps to gas Jews.
Putting his career and life on the line, he secretly tells a young Jesuit priest, Father Riccardo (Mathieu Kassovitz), who promises to pass the information on to Vatican representatives, in hopes that the information will reach the Pope, who could then reveal to the world the Nazis’ true intentions and thus stop the Jewish genocide. But the Vatican does little else than work to safeguard it’s own precious riches from looting by the Germans, an historical accuracy that the church may never live down.
Lotta says: Excellent dramatic elements, swift moving story and beautifully photographed; Ulrich Tukur is superb as the tormented German officer. Ulrich Muhe ably plays the devilish doctor who’s smile can kill.
Reviewed: Jan 30, 2004