Customer Review

63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dire., 4 Aug. 2011
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This review is from: Auschwitz [DVD] (DVD)
I picked this up in a store during a recent portcall. It's been abandoned to the ship's DVD library...

I didn't notice it was by Uwe Boll, else alarms would have rung and I'd have left it on the shelf. Like others, I thought it was going to be a proper movie, probably in the docu-drama genre. Well, it is a bit - once you get past the "interviews" with the surprisingly holocaust-ignorant German teenagers (I say "surprising" because, to the best of my knowledge, the holocaust is a non-negotiable part of the German curriculum, and holocaust denial is a criminal offence) you get a "docu-drama" of a day-in-the-life of the death camps, from the train arrival to the gassing. Apart from the poor direction and the even poorer script there are loads of inaccuracies. In the main, this seems to be a vehicle to indulge some sort of desire to get as many sets of male and female genitalia of a variety of ages in shot, which is where a glaring error reveals itself insofar as Brazilian waxing wasn't a thing of the time!!

But, really, that's a minor thing when it comes to the plethora of other "licenses" taken with history. From the moment the train pulls in they start to add up. In one brief clip some of the prisoners are seen dismounting a carriage, when prisoners were transported standing-room-only in cattle trucks, with the carriage in the train being provided for the guards. As the train arrives, a private soldier is smoking on the platform in an army where discipline was strict and smoking on duty was a no-no in the Wehrmacht let alone the SS. The commandant addresses soldiers with uniforms bearing SS flashes as "fahnrich" and "leutnant," when the SS equivalent ranks are "standartenjunker" and "untersharfuhrer" respectively. The commandant sits outside the gas chamber and socialises with an NCO, sharing (on duty!) a glass or two of schnapps, whilst looking out some jewellery to give to his wife (such theft from the Reich being a capital offence). The NCO in charge of the gas chamber (played by Boll) leans unmoved and completely detached against the gas chamber door as the victims hammer on it during the gassing when the antechamber was routinely cleared in case of leaks. As the "movie" progresses there seems to be less and less people in the gas chamber - in reality, it was filled to capacity on each use. Afterwards, the bodies are lying in their own space, arranged on the floor. The reality: desperate victims climbed over each other to reach the roof vent where the gas was dropped in in an effort to find clean air, resulting in a bloody, bruised pyramid in the middle of the room. They would also scratch deep gouges in the concrete with their fingers in panic. None of the junior ranks salute or even come to attention when the commandant or any other officer approaches or interacts with them - this is the SS, remember; an elite highly-disciplined and drilled unit in a highly-disciplined and drilled, regulation-driven military machine. Sure, if they were in the front lines dodging snipers the rules would be relaxed but this is in the rear of the rear. It's set in 1943, as far as I can tell, but the cast talk about the Russians being close enough to smell when at the end of 1943 they were still well to the east and had barely made the Polish border.

And so the mistakes roll on and on, in a travesty to the memories of the dead. Boll said it was time to reveal the "full horror" of the holocaust. Well, he didn't despite some gratuitous scenes. This is almost comic and a complete disrespecting and making light of the terror of the event. Watching this is like pulling teeth - and there's even an entirely unnecessary close-up scene involving just that.

Boll claimed this was a sensitive production. What's sensitive about on-camera scenes of toddlers being held down and shot in the back of the head? Or the gratuitously over-extended gassing scenes? Or the teeth-pulling...?

After the brief docu-drama bit we're back to the kids for some wash-up interviews. Not sure where these were filmed - the school janitor's store cupboard, perhaps? Very telling that the kids that have the best grasp of the holocaust are not the trace-my-roots-to-Atilla-the-Hun kids but the first gen' kids born to immigrant parents.

Avoid. Avoid like the plague. Do not waste your money. Unfortunately, Amazon won't let me give it zero stars. Buy Schindler's List and The Grey Zone instead.
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 Jan 2012 00:21:48 GMT
N T says:
Reading this review was far more interesting than the film itself !

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jan 2012 12:14:02 GMT
T says:
Writing this review was far more interesting than the film itself! :-D

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Oct 2013 09:32:14 BDT
John Rose says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Oct 2013 11:38:42 BDT
T says:
"In Germany, Volksverhetzung ("incitement of the people") is a concept in German criminal law that bans the incitement of hatred against a segment of the population. It often applies in (although is not limited to) trials relating to Holocaust denial in Germany."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_against_Holocaust_denial#Germany

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Oct 2013 13:47:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 22 Oct 2013 13:48:12 BDT
John Rose says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Oct 2013 17:13:28 BDT
Last edited by the author on 22 Oct 2013 17:13:44 BDT
T says:
Dunno. Ask the Bundestag. ::)

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Dec 2013 15:35:09 GMT
hensel 3000 says:
Dear John Rose,
so you think "denial of the cyanide gassing of Jews is ... a matter of opinion". I'd really be interested in your opinion to the Holcaust.

Posted on 13 Jan 2015 18:59:30 GMT
PBarry says:
I haven't watched this film yet and following this and other comments I probably will not.
All I will say on the matter of your "Brazilian waxes" is that every prisoner was shaved from head to foot upon entering Auschwitz, ostensibly against lice but most likely to dehumanise the prisoners, both to make them lose their sense of self and to make it easier for the SS guards to treat them a subhuman, as per Nazi propaganda.
I'm sure you are correct on your further points however so thanks for preventing me wasting my time.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jan 2015 09:40:45 GMT
T says:
There's everything on show from unkempt thickets to completely hairless, via all sorts of modern "fashion" pubic topiary. It was a slightly flippant comment but nonetheless further underlined the utter tosh this wholly inaccurate waste of everyone's time really is.
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