The Aryan Couple (2004) starring Martin Landau, Judy Parfitt, Kenny Doughty, Caroline Carver, Danny Webb, Christopher Fulford, Steven Mackintosh, Jake Wood directed by John Daly Movie Review

The Aryan Couple (2004)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Martin Landau as Joseph Krauzenberg in The Aryan Couple (2004)

Fact, Fiction and Freedom

Over the last couple of decades there have been some very powerful movies which deal with the Holocaust but let me tell you now that "The Aryan Couple" is not one of them. In fact it is because of these other powerful movies that "The Aryan Couple" suffers because you watch it with certain expectations especially when it has a storyline which features a wealthy Jewish industrialist buying his and his families freedom. The thing is that whilst that story provides the movies grounding the real story is more to do with a Jewish couple who as part of the resistance have lived life under German aliases and now find themselves in danger. And rather than being a tense, gritty drama "The Aryan Couple" has more of a feel of a romanticized thriller which in many ways feels wrong considering the subject matter.

Over the decades Jewish industrialist Joseph Krauzenberg (Martin Landau - The X Files) and his wife Rachel (Judy Parfitt) have amassed a fortune, a successful business and a palace containing a life time of art collecting. But with the Nazis rounding up all the Jews Joseph is allowed to sign everything he has over to Himmler (Danny Webb) in return for his and his families safe passage to Switzerland. What Joseph doesn't know is that Ingrid (Caroline Carver) and Hans (Kenny Doughty_, the Aryan couple who work for him, are in fact Jews having taken on German aliases when they joined the resistance. When he discovers the truth it is too late to include them in the deal he struck with Himmler and must try and help them some other way.

Kenny Doughty and Caroline Carver in The Aryan Couple (2004)

So to put things very simply, whilst "The Aryan Couple" has a story about a wealthy Jewish man basically buying freedom for him and his loved ones this is not a gritty movie about that. And whilst we also have the characters of Hans and Ingrid, two Jewish members of the resistance masquerading as Aryans this is not some gritty drama about what they did and what risks they undertook doing so. These things are the foundations of the movie, we see how Joseph Krauzenberg was given no option other than to sign over everything for his freedom but this is not a dark retelling of what really happened.

What "The Aryan Couple" ends up is more akin to a melodrama which plays out on whether these people the Krauzenberg's and Hans and Ingrid will get freedom or not. It is done in a very sentimental manner with a constant soundtrack which borders on the romantic and whilst there are moments of drama it never once achieves a level of atmosphere which gets you gripped.

Now understandably not every movie can achieve the gritty depth of "Schindler's List" but "The Aryan Couple" rarely gets close to finding any sort of grittiness. In fact rather than showing the Nazi officers such as Himmler as being cold and evil they are portrayed as being more Machiavellian and over the top in their mannerisms. Now that makes them in keeping with the style of this movie but also incredibly false and unfortunately that element of false continues through out the movie with a few historical inaccuracies adding to the woe. It does mean that if you watch "The Aryan Couple" with expectations of it being a gritty holocaust drama you are going to be disappointed and possibly angered by using it as the basis of something which is at times too sentimental.

Unfortunately what this also means is that the performances also suffer especially when it comes to the likes of Danny Webb, Jake Wood and Christopher Fulford who do not ring true as various Nazi officers. In fact even the great Martin Landau struggles as Joseph Krauzenberg due to the movies sentimental nature and Judy Parfitt as Rachel has to deal with a character whose feistiness in the face of the Nazi's is simply unbelievable.

What this all boils down to is that "The Aryan Couple" just didn't do it for me even though I watched not expecting anything really authentic or gritty. It is for me too sentimental and in being so actually weakens what was meant to be a thrilling storyline concerning 4 Jews and whether they achieved freedom.