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In Darkness [Blu-ray]

93 customer reviews

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(Jun 12, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

From acclaimed director Agnieszka Holland, In Darkness is based on a true story. Leopold Socha, a sewer worker and petty thief in Lvov, a Nazi occupied city in Poland, one day encounters a group of Jews trying to escape the liquidation of the ghetto. He hides them for money in the labyrinth of the town’s sewers beneath the bustling activity of the city above. What starts out as a straightforward and cynical business arrangement turns into something very unexpected, the unlikely alliance between Socha and the Jews as the enterprise seeps deeper into Socha’s conscience. The film is also an extraordinary story of survival as these men, women and children all try to outwit certain death during 14 months of ever increasing and intense danger.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Wieckiewicz, Benno Fürmann
  • Directors: Agnieszka Holland
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Polish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
  • DVD Release Date: June 12, 2012
  • Run Time: 144 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006IW8DTO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,042 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "In Darkness [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 18, 2012
Format: DVD
"In Darkness" (2011 from Poland; 144 min.) brings the true story of how a group of Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland take shelter in the large underground sewer system of the city, with the help of a couple of locals. As can be expected, many troubles ensue. I don't want to spoil the plot and you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Several comments: first, there are a number of very graphic scenes in the movie (just as an example, in one of the first scenes of the movie, we see Nazi soldiers chase down a group of (naked) women running for their lives into the woods--later we see that none survive), so be aware that this movie is not for the faint of heart. Second, the movie's title accurately reflects what this is about, as a significant portion of the movie plays out in the underground sewer system, where of course there is little to no light. Last but not least, this movie takes its time to develop both the main characters and the story line, so this is not for anyone in a hurry.

This movie was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Movie, and it certainly deserved that honor (it did not win, though). I left the movie theater where I saw it this past weekend full with haunting images in my head from this movie. Many movies before have brought Jewish survival tales from WWII, and this more than adds to that long roster. In sum, an important topic, and a great and haunting movie. With this, I've now seen 3 of the 5 Oscar-nominated best foreign movies (the others being Bullhead and A Separation). I hope to get a chance to see the remaining two (Footnote; Monsieur Lahzar) in the near future. Meanwhile, if you like quality foreign movies, "In Darkness" is highly recommended!
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Dr. James Gardner VINE VOICE on March 3, 2012
Format: DVD
"In Darkness" is a 2011 Polish film nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2012 Oscars. It tells the true story of a sewer inspector in Nazi occupied Lvov (then Poland, now The Ukraine) who agrees to shelter a group of Jews escaping from the death squads intent on exterminating them. The film is based on the 1990 book "In the Sewers of Lvov" by Robert Marshall.

Lvov was a thriving city prior to the war, and at the start of the war it was annexed by the Soviet Union and Jews from German occupied Poland fled to the city. The Lvov Ghetto became one of the largest Jewish ghettos in Nazi occupied Poland with more than 200,000 people. Aided by the Ukrainian militia, the Nazis accelerated liquidation in 1943 when the story begins. Ultimately less than 1,000 people survived.

FWIW - Although not a part of this film, it's worthy to note that Simon Wiesenthal (1908-2005) was one of the survivors. Wiesenthal gained international fame after the war as one of the most successful Nazi hunters.

"In Darkness" is reminiscent of "Kanal", a 1956 Polish film about the Warsaw Uprising - a 2 month struggle by the Polish resistance movement to liberate Warsaw from Nazi occupation while the Russians were advancing That film takes place in September 1944 and follows a platoon of 43 resistance fighters as they make their way through the city's sewer system to escape a Nazi offensive.

"Kanal" was the second of 3 films by Andrzej Wajda (1926) about this period, a period in which he himself was a resistance fighter. Wajda (1926) has 4 Oscar nominations for Best Foreign film - "The Promised Land" (1975), "The Maids of Weilko" (1979), "Man of Iron" (1981), and "Katyri" (2007) and won a BAFTA for "Danton" (1982).
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Robert G. Splaine Jr. on February 29, 2012
Format: DVD
A Polish film about Jews who hid in sewers from the Nazis during WWII. They were assisted by a local man who worked in the sewers and know his way around them. This was a very realistic movie that portrays the horrors of the treatment of the Jewish people by the German soldiers, and provides a glimpse of life on the run and the strong human desire to live. The dilemma of the man who is assisting them is apparent, as he must balance his desire to shield the Jews with his priority of protecting the lives of his own wife and child. This is a powerful movie that you do not want to miss.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Steve Perlowski on June 21, 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
With the notable exception(s) of Kieslowski's trilogy of films (Blue, White, and Red, especially Red), this is the finest Polish film that I've seen. In Darkness is powerful, unsentimental, and riveting.

Amazingly, after the film was done, the director, Agnieszka Holland, discovered that a key character in the film version of this true WWII survival story--the little Jewish girl (Krysia Chiger)--was still alive. The two women met in Warsaw in 2011, and their conversation is replayed in one of the film's supplemental features. Here, Mrs. Krystyna Chiger-Karen (she had married Marion Karen, a survivor who had been helped by Oskar Schindler) spoke movingly about how "everything" that the director "put into the film was true."

Agnieszka Holland can go toe-to-toe with the best of today's international film directors, and "In Darkness" is a testament to that truth, as well.

PS. The video and audio quality of the bluray disc is very good.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Richard Brzostek on July 17, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
The challenges that we face in life today are put into perspective when compared to what people endured during World War II. Stories about the holocaust are painful yet amazing in the sense that they shows us the strength in people that has no rival. In Darkness (W ciemnosci), directed by Agnieszka Holland, is the true story of a sewer worker that saves the lives of a group of Jews. Leopold Socha (Robert Wieckiewicz) is a Pole living in Lwow (now called Lviv and part of Ukraine) in Nazi occupied Poland. He doesn't go out of his way to become a hero, but rather he stumbles on the opportunity to make money hiding Jews in the sewers he knows so well.

Lwow has a rich history for both Poles and Jews that spans many centuries (while today both of these groups are only small minorities), with a mix of ethnicities, including Ukrainians, coexisting peacefully before the war. With the conflict running its course, self-interest and survival are the two primary motivations most people are left with. Leopold risks not only his own life, but also that of his entire family, by assisting the survival of anyone Jewish. The Germans meted out a quick punishment of death to the Poles who tired any heroics. Both the group of Jews and Leopold have some reservations and distrust in each other, but as time goes on, their business arrangement turns into much more.

In Darkness doesn't spare us the brutal events of war and will be quite shocking for some viewers. I would say the film is inappropriate for children for a number of reasons and the squeamish may also find it hard to watch. However, the violence isn't gratuitous, as it only adds to what really went on. The realism is also enhanced by the fact that several languages are used in this movie, including Polish, Yiddish, German and Ukrainian.
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In Darkness [Blu-ray]
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