GFF 2012: In Darkness

Film Review by Alan Bett | 18 Feb 2012
  • In Darkness
Film title: In Darkness
Director: Agnieszka Holand
Starring: Robert Wieckiewicz, Bennu Fürmann
Release date: 15 Mar
Certificate: 15

Poland’s foreign language Oscar hopeful is the true story of Leopold Socha (Robert Wieckiewicz), sewer worker and moonlighting burglar, who hid Jews in the subterranean catacombs below Lvov. The original motive is mercantile but he undergoes a long and believable redemptive transformation. What sounds like standard glossy fare is handled with cold candour. Socha profits handsomely for his risk, his malleable morality adapting to prolong survival, while the Jewish fugitives act out of fear and desperation, their worst qualities bared. Veteran director Agnieszka Holand creates a foreboding city under siege from its own citizens. As in Hans Fallada’s Berlin, the enemy is your friend, neighbour, reflection in the mirror. In an uncomfortable accusation, Nazi brutality plays second fiddle to collaborators who enable and allow this horror to occur. In Darkness stands firmly alongside Polanski’s The Pianist, but can only gaze upwards at the soul-stripping masterpiece Come and See; a film it acknowledges with a classically scored scene of shocking carnage. [Alan Bett]