This is a foreign-language subtitled drama set in Luxembourg during WW2, which aims to tell one of the 'secret stories' of the war. Young men were conscripted into the German army and sent to fight on the Eastern front. Their only escape was to go into hiding, which often meant that their families were penalised instead.
'The Undercover War' follows the experience of one such young man who comes from a professional family in a small town. His engineer father is loathed by most locals for collaborating with the Nazis -- but believes he has done the right thing to safeguard his family. When the Resistance act against the father and the young man can no longer stomach attending a German university, he must go underground, literally, into hiding with a motley crew inside an old mine.
What follows is a subtle and understated exploration of his relationships with the other inmates; refugees and communists, an old rival and an assortment of hostile co-conspirators who neither like nor trust him. The Liberation is but weeks away but even so this cannot save all the men in hiding, as claustrophobia and paranoia get the better of them. Moral dilemmas face the hero as he is confronted by violence and distrust -- and clings to simple human contact in response. As the situation fragments so he loses his family, his social contact, his friends and even his freedom, and in the end must decide whether to sacrifice himself to save the others in hiding.
Filmed on what must have been a modest budget, this subtitled, slow-burn drama doesn't quite manage to bring home its core message with any real impact. The performances veer between low-key and over-the-top, although a couple of the supporting actors put in good turns (especially the cuckolded husband).
It's certainly not an action-adventure war movie as the cover seems to suggest.
Worth watching for fans of international arts cinema and hardcore WW2 historians.