The relatively unknown Jonas Armstrong carries this 2 hour long amazing story of World War Two heroism. Set in the last 18 months of the war, this is the story of Pinchas Rosenbaum (whose name was mysteriously changed in the film to Elek Cohen), who escaped from a certain death in a work camp to join a group of resistors who forged passports to get Jewish families to Switzerland. That was heroic enough. But this is a man who went on to use a stolen Nazi uniform, using his perfect German to pose as an officer, saving Jewish lives time and time again. While most of us in the U.S don’t know his story, he’s a hero in Hungary.
It’s also a real life love story with our hero romancing fellow Hungarian resistor Hannah, played by British tv actress Hannah Schoen. The only big name star in this film by first time director Mark Schmidt, is the little-used Sir Ben Kingsley as Hungarian leader Horthy, who protected his Jewish countrymen and women til the last months of the war before he broke his uneasy alliance with Germany til the last months of the war.
Armstrong easily plays our real life hero. Sir Ben is underused but plays a critical role when it comes to understanding the local history.
The problem is this film is a little too Hollywoodsy- taking too many liberties with a story that’s amazing and incredible enough to stand on its own. It’s kinda dumbed-down for Americans. But it’s a story more than worthy of the big screen and Jonas Armstrong is a standout.