Coming to theatres this Friday from director Mark Schmidt, Liberty Studios and Lionsgate comes the true story when WALKING WITH THE ENEMY.
This film tells the story of Elek Cohen (Jonas Armstrong), a young man living in Hungary prior to the invasion of Germany. When it becomes clear that nothing is going to stop the Nazi’s, Elek returns home to his family. He isn’t home a day when he is ordered to report to the labor camp.
While he is gone Elek discovers that the work camp is devastating. Escaping from the camp he returns home to find his entire family and the village ravaged. Regent Horthy (Ben Kingsley) is trying every option to save the country from destruction.
Elek runs into Hannah Schoen (Hannah Tointon) and she introduces him to a group that is working to save as many Jews as possible. When his friend Lajos (David Leon) is taken, Elek dons a German officer’s uniform to rescue him.
It worked once…can it be done again, and again?
FINAL WORD: Armstrong as Elek is definitely a man on a mission, but one from the heart. His initial journey is to find his family but fate had other plans and that was to widen his journey to helping save thousands. Armstrong plays the role well and simple, sometimes that’s all that’s needed to get the message across.
Tointon as Hannah is a sweet girl who also wants to save as many people as they can. It is difficult to have a love story in the midst of cruelty and treachery but the emotion comes through when the couple is on the screen together.
Leon as friend Lajos follows his friend into the fray and although after his abduction there is fear (and rightfully so), this character does try to continue to do what is right.
Kingsley’s role as Horthy is a small one. As a Kingsley fan from way back in the day I’m thrilled any time I see him on the screen. I wish there had been more of a story here for him. The scenes were short and a little confusing.
Director Schmidt says about the film, “Liberty Studios was founded on a desire to bring inspirational true life stories to the big screen and its mission is to celebrate outstanding individuals for their accomplishments past and present. After months of working on WALKING WITH THE ENEMY in Europe and the United States, this remarkable epic story is coming to the big screen.”
Other cast include: Burn Gorman as Col. Skorzeny, Simon Kunz as Jozsef Greenberg, William Hope as Carl Lutz, Simon Dutton as Mikos Schoen, Andrew Brooke as Captain Kovarcz, Mark Wingett as Sorenzi, Ralph Brown as Gruzdev, Simon Hepworth as Ferenc Szalasi, Giles Alderson as Dorjan, Flora Longhurst as Rachel Schoen, Shane Taylor as Miklos Horthy, Jr.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give WALKING WITH THE ENEMY three tubs of popcorn out of five. In the vein of SCHINDLER’S LIST and other films of the holocaust genre, this is another story that most people wouldn’t know about. The film is a chance to tell a story as well as a history lesson.
The cinematography, scenery and costuming are done well and a bit eerie at the same time. Of course anytime I see a film with this costuming I’m a little unnerved. There are awkward moments in the film where the acting kind of misses a beat here and there. By the time the film finds its total rhythm it’s easy to overlook some of the blips earlier in the film. What it may lack is totally made up for with good intention and heart.
In the end – it’s about love, courage and sacrifice.