Walking With the Enemy claims to be "inspired" by the story of Pinchas Rosenbaum, a rabbi's son who saved numerous Jews from concentration camps during the Nazi occupation of Hungary in 1944.
But no inspiration is evident in this artless, aimless, and endless film. It's a badly written, poorly acted, bathetic pageant of bad wigs and worse accents, rendered with production values on a par with NBC's recent Sound of Music mummery.
Irish actor Jonas Armstrong plays the Rosenbaum character (here named Elek Cohen), a fun-loving guy working in a record store in Budapest and courting the lovely Hannah (English actress Hannah Tointon) when the Germans storm-troop in.
In the movie, Cohen is easily able to pass for gentile, so he starts dressing up in a Nazi SS officer's uniform to intimidate the jackboots of the Hungarian Nazi party, ordering them to release some of the Jews they have gathered up for deportation.
Meanwhile, the Soviets are approaching from the east, and international brinksmanship is being carried out incomprehensibly. Historical figures are thrown in - Admiral Horthy, the Regent of Hungary (Ben Kingsley); Nazi official Adolf Eichmann (Charles Hubbell); and notorious SS Col. Otto Skorzeny (Burn Gorman), with his livid dueling scar - primarily for name value.
Rosenbaum's heroics probably merit a film, but Walking With the Enemy - obvious, heavy-handed, and deadly dull - is not it.
Walking With the Enemy * (out of four stars)
Directed by Mark Schmidt. With Jonas Armstrong, Hannah Tointon, Ben Kingsley, Simon Kunz. Distributed by Liberty Studios.
Running time: 1 hour, 59 mins.
Parent's guide: PG-13 (ruthless violence).
Playing at: UA Riverview Plaza 17; Loews Cherry Hill 24; Bryn Mawr Film Institute; Cinemark Cooper Towne Center/NJ.EndText