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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka The Counterfeiters' or 'Der Fälscher' or 'The Counterfeiter')

 

directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky
Austria / Germany 200
7

 

Product Description: Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, The Counterfeiters tells the true story of Salomon Sorowitsch (Karl Markovics), a swindler who made a name for himself as Berlin's "King of the Counterfeiters." However, his life of women and easy money is cut short when he's arrested and placed in a Nazi concentration camp. With the German army on the verge of bankruptcy, Sorowitsch makes a sobering deal with his captors: in exchange for a comfortable bed, good food and fair treatment, Sorowitsch, along with the other hand-picked specialists, must counterfeit bank notes to fund the Nazi War effort. If he does as they say, he lives another day. If he rebels, he faces the same fate as the rest of the camp's prisoners. But if he lives, will he be able to live with himself?

***

Thoroughly enjoyable wartime drama with a strong script and fantastic performances.

The film's also beautifully shot and contains some superbly suspenseful sequences, such as Herzog gathering the men to tell them about one of their agents trying to cash the first batch of British pounds.

In short, The Counterfeiters is an impressively directed drama with a superb central performance from Markovics and a gripping story to tell. Highly recommended.

Excerpt from Matthew Turner's review at ViewLondon HERE

 

Posters

 

Theatrical Release: February 10th, 2007 (Berlin Film Festival)

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Comparison:

Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Sony Pictures - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

(Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Sony Pictures - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT)

 Box Covers

Distribution

Sony Pictures

Region 1 - NTSC

Sony Pictures - Region 'A' Blu-ray
Runtime 1:38:45 1:38:54
Video

1.8:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.86 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC, 25.9 Gig
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Audio German: Dolby Digital 5.1, DUB:
DUB: French: Dolby Digital 5.1

German: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
DUB: French: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 

Subtitles English, French, Spanish, none English SDH, English, French Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
Commentary by director Stefan Ruzowitzky (in English with optional English subtitles)
Featurette: "The Making of The Counterfeiters" (10:01) - in German, with non-removable English subtitles
Three interviews:

One with director Stefan Ruzowitzky (17:57, English, with optional English subtitles) - 16X9
A second with Adolf Burger (9:54, in German, non-removable subtitles) - 16X9
Third with Karl Markovics (10:21, English, optional subtitles) - 16X9

Four deleted scenes (about 4 minutes worth, German, non-removable subtitles)
Featurette: "Adolf Burger's Historical Artifacts" (19:12, German, non-removable subtitles)
"Q&A with Ruzowitzky" (13:14, English, optional English subtitles)
Trailer (2:09)

DVD Release Date: August 5th, 2008
Keep Case

Chapters 34

Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 1.85:1

1080P Dual-layered, MPEG-4 AVC encode, Feature - 25.9 Gig

Edition Details:

Commentary by director Stefan Ruzowitzky (in English with optional English subtitles)
Featurette: "The Making of The Counterfeiters" (10:01) - in German, with non-removable English subtitles
Three interviews:

One with director Stefan Ruzowitzky (17:57, English, with optional English subtitles) - 16X9
A second with Adolf Burger (9:54, in German, non-removable subtitles) - 16X9
Third with Karl Markovics (10:21, English, optional subtitles) - 16X9

Four deleted scenes (about 4 minutes worth, German, non-removable subtitles)
Featurette: "Adolf Burger's Historical Artifacts" (19:12, German, non-removable subtitles)
"Q&A with Ruzowitzky" (13:14, English, optional English subtitles)
Trailer (2:09) in HD

 

DVD Release Date: August 5th, 2008
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 34

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Counterfeiters is infused with an incredible amount of grain, heavy in many sequences - perhaps even more so than Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. This stylistic convention seems translated equally well in both SD and Blu-ray editions. It has a tendency to homogenize the detail making the differences between the two format representations, in that regard, are not as overwhelming as we have seen in other comparisons. I found a greater improvement in colors with skin tones especially looking more true in the Blu-ray. But depending on your system I suggest that the upgrade may not be as beneficial as some fans may hope.

As usual, the resized images don't tell the whole story but you may click the Blu-ray to full-size to get a better indication of how much, or little, the improved resolution exports the visual value of the film's digital presentation. As a positive I don't see obvious evidence of any DNR filters or edge enhancement to drastically alter the desired cinematic 'look'. I didn't see it in the theater but hope it doesn't appear radically different than these two discs are offering.

Audio-wise we have an original German TrueHD track vs. a, now fairly common on SD, 5.1. I believe the Blu-ray to be slightly superior in the instances that I tested it but I have no way of quantitatively assuring you of that. It should be better and those keen on audio will be able to identify that better than I. There is original music by Marius Ruhland.   Both transfers sounded occasionally separated at times, although it is not a prominently utilized effect in the film. Both discs offer a 5.1 French DUB. SD and Blu-ray include optional English, French or Spanish subtitles.

In terms of supplements both appear to offer the exact same extras with the exception of the trailer being in HD resolution for the Blu-ray. I thought the commentary was excellent and appreciated the optional subtitles as a desirous adjunct with the director's command of the English language being less than perfect at times. Ditto for the entertainment value of the 20 minute interview with Ruzowitzky, plus the highly interesting 20 minute featurette on "Adolf Burger's Historical Artifacts" - possibly the best part of the supplement features. There are two other, ten minute long each, interviews, one with writer Adolf Burger and one with lead Karl Markovics. After a 13 minute "Q&A with Ruzowitzky" we have a short segment of 4 deleted scenes. 

Despite the improvement in the transfer, I'm not overwhelmed by how the film's style differently produced a vehemently divergent presentation. Price-wise between the two - the difference is about $7 and, depending on your view, that may be accurate for the value of how they compare. Either way we highly recommend the film as an extremely valuable historical drama - a story that needed to be told and a film worthy of a vast audience. Along with memorable efforts like 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, and Julian Schnabel's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, this is one of the better foreign language films I've seen from 2007.  

 -Gary Tooze

 



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Screen Captures

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(Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Sony Pictures - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Sony Pictures - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Sony Pictures - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray
Menu: Blu-ray

 
 Box Covers

Distribution

Sony Pictures

Region 1 - NTSC

Sony Pictures - Region 'A' Blu-ray


 





 

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Gary Tooze

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