An Oscar nominee this year for Best Foreign-Language Film, In Darkness tells the true story of Leopold Socha (the excellent Robert Wieckiewicz), a Polish sewer worker and thief in the Nazi-held city of Lvov who takes money to hide a group of Jews underground. Based on Robert Marshall's nonfiction book In the Sewers of Lvov, the film offers a warts-and-all portrait of victims and saviors, forgoing the heroism inherent in Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List. Polish director Agnieszka Holland, who triumphed with 1991's similarly-themed Europa Europa, makes us feel the rat-crawling filth and human agony of living in those sewers for over a year. In Darkness is an agonizing experience, especially when Jews are publicly humiliated in the streets and a driving rainstorm nearly drowns those cowering in the depths. Holland means to shake you. In Darkness has the power to haunt your dreams.
Jasmin Marla Dichant, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics