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  Plan A Is Revenge Best Served At All?
Year: 2021
Director: Doron Paz, Yoav Paz
Stars: August Diehl, Sylvia Hoeks, Michael Aloni, Nikolai Kinski, Milton Welsh, Oz Zehavi, Barbara Bauer, Yoel Rozenkier, Ulrike von Gawlowski, Yossi Behar, Amitai Kedar
Genre: HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Germany, 1945, and the country is reeling from its defeat in the Second World War. Some of the Jews who were so abused by most of the populace are returning to where their homes used to be, including Max (August Diehl), who like many of his race is not receiving any sympathy from those who still believe the Jews are responsible for this mass suffering. When he goes back to his old house, there's someone living there, a family whose father recognises him and goes out to meet him with a rifle. When Max begins to state his case for getting his home back, even without his family who died in the Nazi death camps, his reply is to be beaten to the ground with the rifle butt and the advice that just because the war is over, doesn't mean Jews cannot be murdered...

From that blunt vignette as an opener, we can tell why there would be plenty of resentment from the Holocaust survivors towards the German people who turned against them with such devastation, which goes some way to convincing us that there would be a contingent of Jewish terrorists who planned to stage a major statement against their repression. That plan involved placing spies into the Berlin water plants which the authorities were trying to get back up and running, and once they were, pollute the water supply with deadly poison, thereby murdering six million Germans in revenge for the six million Jews who were murdered during the war. If you know anything about history, you may be aware of this plan's outcome, and the film relies on you not being in on the result.

Though if they had succeeded, then you may validly imagine that you would have heard about a vengeance massacre on that enormous scale, though as you will see if you watch this, the directors, brothers Doron Paz and Yoav Paz, have a trick or two up their sleeves to sustain the tension. Before that, you had a tough watch, not necessarily because it depicted horrible events, though there was an element of that, but because it was plainly a film that had no interest in being entertaining. Educational, yes, but this was no adventure yarn, as it states as the beginning it was based on a true story and since that story was, literally, deadly serious, there was no room for so much as a sliver of frivolity or any let up for the characters who have suffered unimaginably and continue to do so with the nightmare memories they have been landed with.

Diehl was appropriately hollow-featured as the lead, looking as if he really had been to Hell and back with every haunted expression and weighed down under the guilt that he feels he could have done something to prevent the tragedy of the Holocaust, so is asking himself every day, why didn't I? Then the film asks us a question: if we were in Max's position, would we want an eye for an eye as well? Would we demand revenge that set out the murder of millions in a tit for tat act of slaughter? The point being, no, because you're supposed to be better than the Nazis who denigrated humanity, both their own and others', and killing millions more people in revenge will not help anyone. Yet the feelings of needing to punish the evildoers who have ruined your life may be too much to bear, and like Max you either lash out or buckle and collapse (he effectively does both during the course of the story). Plan A was a very well-designed picture, meticulously put together for period detail, but you could not honestly say it was enjoyable. Thought-provoking, certainly, but its relentless anti-fun may be too much for most audiences to consider. Music by Tal Yardeni.

[Signature Entertainment presents Plan A on digital 3 September and DVD 13 September 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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