This is based on the true story of Leopold Socha (Robert Wieckiewicz) who during war torn Poland worked as a sewer inspector in the Polish town of Lvov (it is now Ukrainian called Lviv). He supplemented his income by burglarising houses and selling the goods on the black market - this included many former houses of the Jews that had been sent to the ghettos or worse.
Then the Nazis come to take everyone, the Jews have anticipated this and had already seen the sewer as a sort of refuge. Socha and his accomplice have already seen this as a possible way to make money, so they strike a bargain with the Jews that in return for payment that they will be looked after. What started out as a money making scheme soon becomes something more for Socha as he sees the terrible events unfold as the war staggers to its ultimate conclusion. We also get to see the brutal effects of even `casual collaboration' and the arbitrary `justice' meted out by the occupiers.
This is a Polish, German and Canadian co production and is in Polish, German, Yiddish and Ukrainian so obviously is sub titled, but this should not put you off. All of the performances are compelling and the tension and fear is palpable through out. The creeping madness of being shut in a sewer for months is not covered up and the filth is omnipresent. One can only begin to imagine how horrific it must have been. Socha and his family were named as "Righteous among the Nations" by Yad Vashem in Israel for their efforts.
This is not a war film in the normal sense but is a tale of true heroism and suffering that is caused by war and is a brilliant compliment to the many new films that are being made about the struggles of ordinary people caught up in a war they did not understand and showing extraordinary ability to overcome the situations they are forced in - highly recommended.